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56-5 i'-'-'"" 



T»'-'"-^^;'"<;;':''SS(T'''**«*^Ss??^*fiS' 



HARVARD LAW LIBRARY 



""-^JUN 2 7 1921 



1 



I 





/ 



f 



THE <^" 



\k<i 



CONGO SLAVE 



^TATF 



c+ 



A Protest against the new African Slavery; 

And an Appeal 

To the Public of Great Britain, of the 

United States, and of the Continent of Europe. 



By EDMUND D. MOREL. 



A 



*' Every step that we take upon our way is a step that 
brings us nearer the goal, and every obstacle even although 
for the moment it may seem Insurmountable, can only for a 
little while retard, and never can defeat, the final triumph." 

William Ewart Qladstone. 



A 



liverpool : 
John Richardson & Sons, Printers, 29, Dale Street. 

1903. 



j 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 



"Affairs of West Africa." 

Demy 8vo, with Illustrations' and Maps. Price, 12/- Nett. 

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN. 



"The suiferingfs of which the picture was given to the world in Uncle 
Tofn*s Cabin, are as nothing* to those which Mr. Morel represents to be the 
habitual accompaniments of the acquisition ot rubber and ivory by the 
Belgian companies." — Times. 

'* Another feature of Mr. Morel's book is a tremendous attack on the 
Congo Free State." — Spectator, 

** Neither the author's langtiage in denouncing this system, nor his con- 
demnation of King Leopold is one whit too strong." — Speaher, 

'*A terrible indictment of the Congo State." — Morning Post, 

**We know of no author who displays a more intimate knowledge of 
the European side of the Congo scandal.'' — Glasgonv Herald, 

"Mr. Morel's work depicts at length the abuses committed by the Congo 
State, which have, in part, been juridically confirmed already." — Norddeutsche 
Allgemeine Zeitung, 

"The chapters of Mr. Morel's book which will cause the greatest 
sensation are those which the author devotes to the Congo State. If the 
movement against the Congo State succeeds in its object, the author will 
certainly be able to claim to have powerfully contributed to its success." — 
Bulletin du Comity de VAfrique Frangaise, 



ALSO 



"The British Case in French Congo 

W. Heinemann, 6/-. 1903. 

" The Belgian Curse in Africa." 

Contemporary Review, March, 1902. 

"Trading Monopolies in West Africa." 

J. Richardson & Sons. Pamphlet, 6d. 1902. 

Etc., Etc. 

JUN 2 7 1921 



\ 



UVV4. >J\ I ^ 1,1 



\ t 



{ 



CONTENTS. 

HI 



Preface 



> • • ■ • 



Introduction 



■ • • • • • 



» » • • • 4 



PAGES. 

5-7 
8-IO 



Chapter I. 



The Policy of the Congo State or the Domaine Privi.., ii-2i 



Chapter II. 



The Domaine de la Couronne 



22-23 



Chapter III. In the Domaine PrivS 



I • • • • • 



24-33 



Chapter IV. The Subsidiary Trusts — No. i, The Katanga Trust, 



34-42 



Chapter V. 
Chapter VI. 
Chapter VII. 

Chapter VIII. 



) ) 



>» 



5 » 



)f 



»» 



»» 



1» 



f ) 



Chapter IX. Other Trusts ... 



The Katanga Trust (contd,) 43-54 

No. 2, The Mongalla Trust ... 55 68 

No. 3, The Loport - Maringa 

Trust ... 69-73 



No. 4) The Kasai Trust 



• • • • • 



74-80 
81-84 



Chapter X. Oppression in the Lower Congo ... 



85-90 



Chapter XI. 
Chapter XII. 



The "Commercial Statistics" of the Congo State for 1902 91-97 

The Debate in the House of Commons on May 20thj 
1903. — Members of Parliament who have identified 
themselves with the Congo reform movement. ... 98-112 



PREFACE. 



IN the days of the over-sea slave trade, Europeans went down the 
West Coast of Africa to capture the inhabitants and carry them 
away to labour on European and American plantations, and for other 
purposes. That wickedness was put an end to by a few men, who, 
after incredible difficulty, heart-breaking set-backs and soul-tearing 
toil, with pen and voice succeeded in rousing the conscience of the 
world. An evil perhaps as great — possibly greater — and accom- 
panied by concomitant dangers which the over-sea slave trade was 
innocent of, faces us to-day. Although the present evil is not so 
universsdly practised as was the other, it wields nevertheless, a cor- 
rupting influence upon men's minds, its perpetration being accom- 
panied by temporary material gains of an extensive kind — much 
more extensive than the profits derived from the over-sea slave 
trade — which gains, moreover, are unaccompanied by any hardship 
or unpleasantness to the principal beneficiaries concerned in pro- 
moting and enforcing the evil. The consequence has been that within 
the last few years the virus has spread, a pernicious example has 
been copied, the minds of many men are confused and, as in the 
days of the over-sea slave trade, familiarity with an existing evil 
has resulted in the blunting of conscience, in indifferentism and 
unthinking acquiescence. 

One hundred years ago, a handful of men were fighting a system 
hoary with age and sanctified by custom, whereby the negro was 
considered the lawful prey of the white man, who, thanks to his 
superior engines of destruction, and to the inter- tribal warfare among 
the negroes, captured enormous numbers of the latter and enslaved 
them in a land of exile. 



To-day, some of us are fighting a system whereby a certain 
number of individuals in a small country, having at their head a 
man utterly unscrupulous but extraordinarily able, consider the negro 
as their lawful prey, and, thanks to the perfection which modern 
engines of destruction have now attained and to the lack of unity 
among the negroes, are enslaving them in their own land. 

The men of a century ago had for a long time, everything against 
them : Parliament, class prejudice, vested interests, and much more, 
beside of which the difficulties that face us to-day are insignificant. 

We are confronted merely with the intrigues of a clique, the allies 
bound to it by the ties of material interest, and the paid agents it 
entertains. We are not struggling against a system to which long 
usage has given almost the force of law, but against a system adopted 
in violation of solemn international pledges, and which has been in 
existence for little more than a decade. We are not contending with 
a system which might have endured for a thousand years without 
the Nemesis of retribution, but with a system which carries within 
it the germs of destruction and chaos. 

Yet, disproportionate as are our difficulties with those which faced 
the men of a hundred years ago, the obstacles we have to overcome 
are, nevertheless, considerable. If the honour of the nations of the 
world is concerned in this matter, so also are their mutual jealousies 
involved. The partition of Africa has given rise to much rivalry, to 
dangerous disputes sdmost culminating in armed warfare between the 
nations of Europe. Deeds have been done in Africa, of which each 
participating Power in the '* scramble " feels ashamed, and this 
feeling of shame, coupled with distrust of its neighbour, causes each 
Power to hesitate before taking action, leads the timid statesman to 
shrink, to search for excuses, to palliate — almost to condone. Public 
opinion is still suffering, although in a lessening degree, perhaps, from 
one of those periodical waves of materiahsm and indifferentism which 
sweep over the intellectual world from time to time, when appeals to 
humanity are put down to sentimental clap- trap, or to the deluded 
imaginings of ill-regulated minds. But what movement for reform, 
what effort to undo a wrong, or to upset a tyranny has ever been 



carried to a successful conclusion without impediments and 
opposition? Rather should we rejoice that so many powerful 
sympathies are already enlisted in the cause. 

Those whom appeals to humanity leave untouched, we are able, 
happily, to approach on other grounds, to put before them arguments 
and data based upon the severest practicability, upon the clearest 
common-sense, upon considerations of science and reason which will 
bear — and have borne — the test of examination. We can produce 
sufficient presumptive evidence to show that the continuation and 
spread of this evil will bring with it, as inevitably as night follows 
day, ruin and disaster upon every legitimate European enterprise 
in Equatorial Africa ; will undo the work of years of patient effort ; 
will render valueless the sacrifice of many valuable lives laid down 
in the task of exploring and opening up those vast regions, and will 
fling back their inhabitants into the welter of barbarism, deeper and 
infinitely more degrading than any they have hitherto experienced. 

The men of a hundred years ago, who fought the over-sea 
African slave trade, were giants. The obstacles they had to surmount 
were colossal. They surmounted them — they won. Compared 
with them, the men who to-day are fighting the New Slavery in Africa 
are pygmies. Their difficulties are substantial, but they will over- 
come them— and they will win. 

Hawarden, 1903. 




>I Z »x*» 




INTRODUCTION. 



A FEW weeks ago I suggested to a friend who, although entirely 
^"^ unconnected with Congo affairs, shares nevertheless the feelings 
of indignation entertained by all impartial observers at the monstrous 
abuses of which the Congo Basin has become the scene, the publication 
of a pamphlet dealing with the subject, which I volunteered to write 
and compile, if he would defray the cost of printing and distribution. 
This he generously agreed to do. I can only hope that what is written 
in these pages may help the determined efforts now being made to 
rouse the public conscience of the world to the abuses which, under 
the cloak of a detestable hypocrisy, maintained by every political 
and personal intrigue that ingenuity can suggest, are befouling the 
honour of the white races in Equatorial Africa, and building up a 
heritage of trouble of which no man can foretell the consequences or 
the end. 



This pamphlet — ^which is for gratis distribution only — is in 
effect an appeal to the people of the civilized world, whose 
representatives signed the Berlin Act of 1885, and the Brussels 
Act of 1890, to unite in putting pressure upon their respec- 
tive Governments to take the territories known as the Congo State 
out of the hands of King Leopold II, now dictator over a million 
square miles in Africa, inhabited by twenty million negroes ; and 
by such measures as may be decided upon at a new Conference, to 
ensure that the provisions of the Berlin and Brussels Acts shall be 
effectively carried out in those territories. 



No attempt is herein made to recount the historical incidents 
relating to the foundation of the State, nor to recapitulate the authen- 
ticated stories of persistent cruelty and oppression which have 
characterised its career more or less since its birth, but especially 
since its policy of land appropriation, and appropriation of the produce 
of the soil was put into practice — that is to say, since 1891. That 
task has been fully and admirably performed by Mr. H. R. Fox- 
Boume, Secretary of the Aborigines Protection Society in his volume 
published this year, " Civilisation" in Congo-land."* 

The object aimed at here has been twofold : (1) The presenta- 
tion in a lucid and easily readable form of the cardinal teatures which 
underlie the new system of African slavery, conceived and applied 
in the territories of the Congo Basin by the Sovereign of the Congo 
State, thus centralising in a few pages the exposure of that system 
which the author has already attempted, in the volumes published 
by Mr. Heinemann in December of last and May of this year, entitled 
respectively " Affairs of West Africa,"t and the ** British Case in 
French Congo." J 

(2) The treatment, in distinct chapters, of the Domaine Prive, 
the Domaine de la Couronne, and each of the great Trusts into which 
the Domaine Prive is sub-divided, accompanied in every case by maps 
with the specific areas marked upon them, and by a narrative of the 
' more recent events which are available, or have been chronicled, from 
those specific areas. 

The author ventures to hope that, by this method of treatment, 
the reader may have no difficulty in getting at the bed-rock facts 
of the situation. 

Every effort has been made to deal with the subject as temper- 
ately as the author's feelings admit, but no apology is tendered to 
those whose sensitiveness will not allow that a spade should under 

* P. S. King & Son, Orchard House, Westminster (Price, io/6 net.) 

^Affairs of West Africa (W. Heinemann, Bedford Street, London), price 
1 25. net. 

{ The British Case in, French Congo (W. Heinemann, Bedford Street, London) 
price 6s. net. 



10 

any circumstances be described otherwise than as an agricultural 
implement. The use of kid gloves and undiluted rose water can be left 
to the diplomatists who for eleven years have sat still and not moved 
a little finger while the Congo Basin was in process of being formed 
into a chamel house, and who have only been roused from their apathy 
within the last few weeks by strong speaking and straight writing — 
notwithstanding the fact, that in the Foreign Offices of England, 
Germany and France, reports are pigeon-holed which confirm in 
every particular the charges made against the Congo State for years 
past, by all who have had an opportimity of studying the effects of 
its system on the spot. 

The British Government, in the face of a unanimous House of 
Commons, has now promised to approach the signatory Powers, but 
there is some reason to fear that if constant pressure is not brought 
to bear upon the authorities, both inside the House and out of it, 
the " enquiry " will only be a half-hearted sort of affair. It is of 
the utmost importance, therefore, that public opinion throughout 
the world should be brought to understand this question. This 
pamphlet is a humble attempt to that end. 

It has been stated above that this is an appeal to the people of the 
civilized world, whose representatives signed the Berlin and Brussels 
Acts. To the American public, whose Government did not ratify the 
Berlin Act, but did ratify the Brussels Act, the writer ventures to 
appeal with special emphasis. America has a peculiar and very 
clear responsibility in the matter, inasmuch as the American Gov- 
ernment was the first to recognise the status of the International 
Association (which subsequently became the Congo State) and 
thereby paved the way for similar action on the part of the European 
Governments. America was deceived, as Europe was deceived, by 
the professions of philanthropy and high moral purpose so lavishly 
scattered by the Sovereign of the Congo State. It is to be hoped that 
President Roosevelt and the American people may help to undo the 
grievous wrong which was thereby unknowingly inflicted upon the 
natives inhabiting the Congo Territories. 



11 



CHAPTER I. 



The POLICY of the Congo 5tate 
or the Domaine Prive. 

The POLICY—" Vacant^Lands " — The " Fruits " of the Land — 
Products of Commercial Value — Trade — The Provi- 
sions OF the Berlin Act — The Destruction of Trade — 
The Robbery of the Native — How the POLICY works 
OUT in Practice — "Taxation in Kind" — ^The Subsidiary 
Trusts of the Domaine Priv£ — On the Art of Manipu- 
lating Figures. 



*' Vacant lands must be considered as belonging' to the State." — Decree^ 
July I, 1885. 

'' In this same year, 1892, the State inaugurated a new economic policy. 
. . . This policy is characterised — (i) By the execution {mise en pratique) 
of the State's right of monopolising to its profit the products of the vacant 
lands of its territory. (2) By the appearance of concessionary and privileged 
companies, constituted for the purpose of exploiting the Domaine Priv^ with 
the moral and effective support of the State." — M. A. J. Wauters (Belgian), 
in VEtat Ind^pendant du Congo y 1899. 

*'The State then initiated an economic policy diametrically opposed to 
that which had prevailed hitherto. This changed attitude was marked by 
the decree of September 21, 1891, not inserted in the Bulletin Officiel^ and 
which ordered the District Commissioners of the Aruwimi-Welle and Ubanghi- 
Welle, and the leaders of the Upper Ubanghi Expedition, 'to take urgent 
and necessary measures to preserve at the disposal of the State the fruits 
of the domainal lands, especially ivory and rubber.' A few months after the 
signing of this document, three circulars appeared — (i) . • . forbidding 
the natives to hunt the elephant unless they brought the ivory to the 
State. (2) . . . forbidding the natives to collect rubber unless they brought 
it to the State. (3) • • • forbidding the natives to collect for their own 
profit, or to sell any rubber or ivory whatever, which were the fruits of 
the Domain of the State ; adding that the merchants who bought these 
products from the natives, ' the collection of which the State only authorises 
on condition that they are brought to it,' would be guilty of receiving 
stolen goods, and would be denounced to the judicial authorities." — M. A. J. 
Wauters (Belgian), ibid. 



12 

**This regime is absolutely arbitrary. The decree does not specify the 
taxes which can be claimed from the Chiefs. It follows that nothing' can 
prevent their being* compelled to pay taxes utterly disproportionate to their 
resources, and of being exploited and ruined. Moreover, the basis of tax- 
ation is not uniform, and it varies from Chief to Chief. The system is 
calculated to legitimise every form of plunder and injustice." — F, Cattier 
(Belgian), Professor at Brussels University ; Droit et AdministraHon de TEtat 
Ind^pendant du Congo ^ 1898. 

" You dare not, in the name of Christian morality, defend the exploitation 
of the Domaine Priv^." — M. Vandevelde, Belgian Member of Parliament 
(in the Belgian House, July, 1901). 

**That is Congo civilisation! On all sides war, massacres, crimes 
continue there. How can you possibly defend those things ? . . . Your 
Colonial policy is analogous to the crimes mentioned in Article 123 of the 
Penal Code; it is a policy of devastation, pillage and assassination." — M. 
Georges Lorand, Belgian Deputy (in the Belgian House, July, 1901). 

*' The basis of the King's economic policy has been the formation of an 
army sufficiently strong to pay the rubber and ivory tax " — M. Pierre Mille 
(Frenchman), Au Congo Belge^ 1899. 



THE Domaine Prive now covers the whole of the territories assigned 
to the Sovereign of the Congo State by the Powers in 1884, 
with the exception of a very small portion known as the Lower Congo. 

Its area is shown in the accompanying map. The bas'is of the 
Domaine Prive was laid by Official Decree in July, 1885. It emerged 
from the region of theory to that of fact in 1891 and 1892. The 
Domaine Prive is a Policy. That Policy is a very simple one, 
which anyone can understand. 

By a stroke of the pen, the entire area shown in the map, with 
the exception of native villages and clearings round those villages 
planted with foodstuffs by the inhabitants, has been declared *' vacant 
land," and appropriated by the Congo State. By a few more strokes 
of the pen, the Congo State has appropriated to itself the '* fruits '* 
of this " vacant land,'* and has forbidden the natives to collect 
such *' fruits ** for the purpose of sale. 

That is the Policy of the Domaine Prive, 



The reader is asked to remember carefully that the above are 
facts which are not, and have never been in dispute. No mind, how- 
ever subtle, no argument however ingenious, has ever applied itself, 
or been applied, to deny these facts which embody the constitution 
of the Congo State. 

To frame such a Policy was one thing. To "give effect to it 
was another* 



13 

Every student of Africa knows that, save in regions which have 
become deserted either by inter-tribal warfare extending over a long 
period of years, or through the effects of some terrible scourge, or 
through general lack of fertility, the term 'Vacant lands" is one which 
has little substance in fact. It may be accepted as an axiom, from 
which the departures are rare, that wherever there is a population there 
is no such thing as '' vacant land'* in Equatorial Africa. Moreover, 
careful investigation has revealed in regions where such investigation 
has been carried out in Western Africa, that native land tenure re- 
poses upon well-defined customs, laws, and traditions ; and is, in the 
great majority of cases, an institution deserving of thorough respect 
by European Governments. A great body of proof could be sub- 
mitted in support of this assertion,were it not the purpose of the writer 
to keep this pamphlet within strict limits. 

Now as to '' fruits '* of the land. What are '* fruits " of the 
land ? Fruits of the land are products of commercial value which 
are yielded by the land. By universal acceptance, the meaning 
attached to the words *' products of commercial value,'* in referring 
to African products signifies products which, according to the distance 
from port of shipment, will leave a profit on the European market 
after deduction of the price of purchase, freight and sundry charges. 

The next point we have to consider is the part which these 
African products of commercial value play in the relationship be- 
tween the European and the native of Africa. That is easily answered. 
They play the main part. They are the primary cause and, nine 
cases out of ten, the sole explanation of the presence in Equatorial 
Africa of Eiuropeans. They constitute the Trade of the country; 
and the motive power, since the slave-trade days, which has led Euro- 
peans to go to Western Equatorial Africa, and European Govern- 
ments to open up the country, has been the necessity of creating new 
markets for their manufactures, and new sources for the supply of 
the products yielded by Equatorial Africa which European industrial- 
ism requires. Now the act of trading is the exchange — the barter — 
of one article against another. There is no exception that I know of to 
the rule. If the American wishes to purchase a certain article which 
the Englishman produces, he pays for it in cash. If the Englishman 
wishes to purchase a certain article which the American produces, 
he pays for it in cash. That is Trade. In Western Africa there is 
at present — save here and there where European silver coinage is being 
introduced — no cash currency, so if the Englishman wishes to pur- 
chase a certain article, such as rubber, or palm-oil, or mahogany, 



14 

which the African produces, he pays for it not in cash, but in mer- 
chandise. That is Trade. 

It has been universally recognised that the most efficacious 
method of opening up virgin countries is by encouraging trade, 
especially when, as is the case with Equatorial Africa, the inhabitants 
are natural traders, bom as it were with the instinct of trade in their 
veins. Here again a great body of proof could be adduced to show 
that such is the universal belief, both as regards the part played by 
trade, and the natural aptitude of the African native for trading. 
But it is quite unnecessary to do so, for the simple reason that nineteen 
years ago, the Powers of Europe registered that belief in a solemn 
compact, binding upon them all, and more especially upon King 
Leopold II. of Belgium, who by virtue of that compact became en- 
trusted with a vast portion of the African Continent, on the under- 
standing that Trade was to remain free and unfettered within it, and 
that the rights of the natives in that portion of the Dark Continent 
were to be safeguarded. That compact was called the Berlin Act. 
The second stipulation was the corollary of the first. The one is the 
necessary appendage of the other. Under a system of unrestricted 
freedom of trade, the native benefits by competition and is in a posi- 
tion to derive all the advantages to which, as a human being, he is 
entitled from his trade ; whereas under a system of monopoly, the 
native can only sell in one market, and the monopolists can, if they 
choose, make their own prices. Therefore, the Powers, animated as 
they were in 1884 and 1885 by a genuine desire to do the fair thing, 
and at the same the wise and common-sense thing, laid down categori- 
cally that no monopoly or privilege of any kind was to be granted in 
matters of trade, and that the native was to be free to dispose of the 
products of his soil — otherwise stated to Trade; and that the Euro- 
peans should be free to purchase those products against merchandise — 
otherwise stated to Trade. 



No sooner, however, had the Sovereign of the Congo State 
entered, on paper, into possession of the territories assigned to him 
by the Powers, than he issued a decree, as we have seen, claiming 
that all *' vacant lands '* belonged to the State ; the term '* vacant 
lands'* meaning — as was explained in that decree and successive 
decrees — aU land throughout the territories assigned to him, with the 
exception of the land built upon, or in actual cultivation by the 
natives. Now as neither the land upon which native villages are 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 



The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Domaine Prive. 



16 

built, nor land upon which the natives cultivate food-stuffs for their 
consumption contain products of commercial value,* this decree 
was not only calculated to hinder trade, actual or potential, but 
positively debarred the native from trading at all. 

This decree was represented as a measure really framed in the 
interests of the natives themselves to prevent their being taken in by 
unscrupulous European merchants. In the years that followed, the 
international position of the Congo State strengthened considerably. 
The Sovereign of the Congo State had succeeded amongst other 
things in rnore or less . entangling politically with the Congo State, 
two of the principal signatories of the Berlin Act, by playing one off 
against the other alternately, both being at this time in furious rivalry 
for the acquisition of territory bordering the Congo State. These are 
matters, of course, pertaining to the domain of historical fact. When 
he felt himself sufficiently strong, the Sovereign of the Congo State 
showed clearly the true significance he attached to the decree of July, 
1885, by issuing in 1891 a decree, followed by a crop of circulars — all of 
which are mentioned in the extract from the work of M. Wauters at the 
head of this chapter — claiming that all the products of the land 
belonged to the Domaine Prive — that is to say to the State (which is 
himself), forbidding natives to collect these products, and forbidding 
European merchants to purchase such products under threat of being 
denounced to the Judicial — mark the Judicial — Authorities. 

By this decree and by the circulars which followed it, coupled 
with the decree of July, 1885, which preceded it, trade was not only 
hindered, natives were not merely debarred in theory from trading at 
all, but Trade, actual and potential, was swept out of existence 
thpoughout one million square miles of territory in Africa in 
which the Powers had expressly declared trade should be free and 
unrestricted. 

The right of the native tbijctJiect the products of commercial 
value which his land produces ; the right o^ the native to sell those pro- 
ducts to European merchants in exchange for goods ; the right of 
the European to purchase those products, had disappeared because 
one man sitting in Brussels, thousands of miles away, had decreed 
that it should be so. 

Since that time, and particularly at the present moment, the pub- 
lic is being deluged with treatises by Belgian jurists and Professors 
at Law, who maintain that the Policy of the Congo State has a 

* The term " Commercial Value " in this connection has already been explained. 



17 

sound ** juridical '* foundation and that the Berlin Act has not been 
violated by the Congo State, because the Congo State has Fights 
of proppietoFship over the Ck>iigo territopies^ and all they 
contain^ those pights of ppoppietopsh^) consistuig in tiie statement 
of such Pights made by one man sitting in Bpnssels thousands of milefei 
away, in the yeaps 1885, 1891 and 1892. 



To frame such a Policy was one thing. To give effect to it was 
another ; but what was its motive ? 



It was given effect to in this wise, and its motive has never been 
one instant in doubt. 

All land not built upon or cultivated, having been '' juridically *' 
declared '* vacant,'' all the products of the land having been " juridi* 
cally ** declared State property; the theory that the native owned 
the products of commercial value yielded by the soil having been 
'* juridically *' disposed of, and such a thing as trade having therefore, 
" juridically ** disappeared ; all that remained to be done was to 
gather in as great a quantity as possible of those products of com- 
mercial value. As the native of Equatorial Africa is not a brute, 
but a man, the expectation that he would bring in the produce of the 
land, which he no doubt persists in continuing to believe to be his, for 
a trifling payment, or for no payment at all, was not to be entertained, 
and was not in point of fact entertained in Brussels. So a system 
of taxation was started and appUed. The native would be called 
upon to pay taxes, and he would pay those taxes in kind : that is 
to say, in the products of commercial value, growing in that 'Vacant 
land " which used to be his, but which had now been '* juridically " 
acquired by somebody else. That *' vacant *' land should contain 
inhabitants whom it was decided ought to pay taxes, might be a 
contradiction in terms — but what matter ? The land had been 
*' juridically " declared vacant. There at once w£is a basis of legality, 
upon which the most imposing legal formulas could be afterwards 
reared, and provided that no one in Europe raised initial objections — 
no one did, the Powers being busy squabbling as usual, too much occu- 
pied with their own affairs to pay attention to what was being 
prepared in the Congo — innumerable decrees and ordinances might 
subsequently be framed testifying to the ardent desire of the Sovereign 
of the Congo State to safeguard the rights of the natives, to protect 
them from outrage, to ... in short care for their material and nioral 



18 

welfare in the most approved manner ; decrees and ordinances 
which could be thrown wholesale in the face of the world, quoted 
with unctuous rectitude and h5^ocritical asseverations, when the 
day arrived for the great unmasking, if ever that day should come. 
If the native would not pay the taxes, well, a remedy would doubtless 
be found, and not only a remedy but an effective name to characterise 
it. The remedy was found. It consists to-day in the existence of 
20,000 cannibal troops, armed with repeating rifles, and secured by 
forced conscription, for raids upon villages; who, employed in districts 
far removed from their homes or place of capture, make useful tax 
collectors (when they do not rebel, cut the throats of their officers, 
and go raiding " on their own *') and useful agents for punishing tax- 
payers, unwilling or unable to meet demands which have no 
finality, and no limitation. The name, or rather the phrase, was also 
found. It is this : " Moral and matepial regenepation."^ 



Owing to the opposition which his Policy met with in Belgium, 
from Belgians who had gone into the country as traders, the Sover- 
eign of the Congo State was compelled to make an exception in their 
favour, and to continue to allow them to trade in specific districts. 
In order to satisfy the demands of financiers who had lent him money, 
and who wanted to share in the profits which were to be anticipated 
from the initiation of his Policy ; to create for his Policy a favourable 
opinion in Belgium, based upon material interest ; to conciliate a 
number of politicians, of bankers and others appertaining to the 
moneyed classes; the Sovereign of the Congo State judged it expe- 
dient to farm out large portions of his Domaine — that is to say, of the 
territories he had appropriated — ^to a number of favoured individuals. 
He rightly judged that the creation of several ** Companies '' whose 
shares would be actively dealt in on the Stock Exchange, and whose 
profits would be sure to run to colossal proportions — since they were 
relieved of the necessity of trading for the products of commercial 
value contained in their respective concessions, receiving, in effect 
those products from the Sovereign who had declared them, in the 
first place, to be his — ^would let loose a wave of profitable speculation 
which would tend to popularise his Policy in Africa among the 
general public in Belgium, 

* " Our only programme, I am anxious to repeat, is the work of moral and 
material regeneration. " — King Leopou). 



v 
\ 



19 

This was done, and a short up-to-date history of each of the 
Trusts thus created is here given, so far as is possible, from information 
concerning their operations. I must not forget to add, that the 
Sovereign of the Congo State, besides — in some cases — stipulating 
that a regular payment should be made to the State on all products 
of commercial value shipped home by these Trusts ; further stipu- 
lated either that the State should hold 50% of the shares, or should 
be paid half the profits of the year's working. In one instance two- 
thirds of the profits go to the State, and one-third to the Trust. In 
this manner a further considerable soiurce of revenue was to be 
secured in addition to the yield of the taxes themselves — otherwise 
stated the profit on sale in Europe of the objects of commercial value 
obtained by the State itself in such portions of the Domaine Prirfc, 
not allotted to subsidiary Trusts. 



This Policy has given, in a material sense, all the results which 
could be desired, or had been foreseen. It has enabled the Congo 
State to raise and equip a huge army of mercenaries chosen from 
the fiercest cannibalistic tribes of the country. It has enabled the 
Congo State to build a flotilla of steamers on the Upper Congo and 
its affluents ; used in the conveyance from place to place of sections 
of this army, and for the transport down the river of the rubber and 
ivory obtained. It has enabled the Congo State to build numerous 
military stations, and depots in proximity to the main arteries. It 
has enabled the Congo State to spend huge sums upon the miUtary 
occupation of a portion of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, weakly leased to it 
by the Rosebery Cabinet with the deluded idea of counteracting 
French schemes — to construct therein forts ; to accumulate therein 
a considerable quantity of artillery, and so on. Most of these achieve- 
ments are pointed to by the Congo State as evidence of progress and 
developing the country, whereas they are in point of fact only part 
and parcel of the maintenance of a Policy determined upon in absolute 
violation of the Berlin Act : a policy which seeks to conceal the ex- 
ploits of slave drivers and buccanneers, in the garb— -as occasion 
arises — of philanthropy, of progress, of legality, and — the latest 
phase — of necessity. The last plea is, perhaps, the most impudent 
of all. The frame-work of a bogus philanthropy, a bogus progress, 
and a bogus legality having successively crumbled away, the Congo 
State is now driven to its final entrenchments, and seeks to defend 
its Policy upon the monstrous assumption that Equatorial Africa 



20 

can only be developed — save the mark ! — upon the principles and the 
practises it has initiated ; that is to say by robbing the native of 
his only source of wealth and by enslaving him in his own country. 

By a judicious manipulation of figures, the Congo State as nearly 
as possible balances its estimated revenue and expenditure returns, 
thus conveying the impression that the results of its Policy are not very 
brilliant after all — that it just makes both ends meet, in short. In 
this way a good many people are taken in. In point of fact the 
figures are quite illusory. The actual revenue returns of taxation 
from the Domaine Prive are never published, or at least have not 
been published since 1893. If they were published, they would show 
that the estimates are utterly fallacious, because the sums realised by 
the State through the sale on the Antwerp market of the rubber and ivory 
obtained from the taxes levied in the Domaine Prive show an excess, for 
each year in which it has been possible to obtain them, of millions of 
francs over the estimates, as the following table shows : 

Result of Taxation in Icind levied by the Congo State 

in the Domaine Prive 



Year. 

1893 
1894 
1895 
1896 
1897 
189S 
1899 
1900 
♦1901 
♦1902 



Published Returns. 

Fes. 237,067= £ 9,482 

300,000= 12,000 

1,250,000= 60,000 

1,200,000= 48,000 

3,500,000= 140,000 

6,700,000= 268,000 

10,000,000= 400,000 

10,500,000= 420,000 

17,424,630= 696,985 

15,452,060= 618,082 



Actual Returns. 



Fes. 347,396= £13,896 



Withheld 

from 

public 

knowledgfe. 



Ivory and Rubber Sold 

on the Antf^crp Market 

by the State's Brokers. 

Unobtainable. 

Unobtainable. 

Fes. 6,600,000= £220,000 

6,000,000= 240,000 

8,600,000= 340,000 

9,000,000= 360,000 

19,130,000= 765,200 

14,991,800= 699,652 

Unobtainable. 

Unobtainable. 



These figures have been pubUshed before and never disputed. 
The figures in the right-hand column for 1893 to 1898 can be 
found in M. Wauters't volume already referred to ; those for 
1899 were first publicly given during a debate in the Belgian 
House ; those for 1900 were obtained by the writer from a source 
which forbids any possibility of inaccuracy. 

It will be seen from the above that in the years 1895 to 1900 
inclusive — six years — a total sum of ;f 1,198,852 was obtained by the 



* The sales for 190 1 and 1902 I have not yet been able to obtain. These 
seerets are jealously guarded — being", in a measure, the key of the situation. 

t * ' Statistique des produits du Domaine Priv^ vendus k Anverp." 



\ 



21 

Congo State from the Domaine Prive in excess of the budgetary 
estimates, and not accounted for in any published official revenue 
returns, viz. : 

SUMS UNACCOUNTED FOR 

1895 ;C1 70,000 

1896 192,000 

1897 . . 200,000 

1898 92,000 

1899 365,200 

1900 179,552 

That there are other sources of private revenue which never see 
the light there can be no doubt, as will be gathered from the chapter 
entitled '' Domaine de la Couronne." 

The predominant part which the sums derived from the Domaine 
Prive in the shape of taxation levied by the State play in the general 
financial condition of the State — even by taking the purposely under- 
rated estimates — may be gauged by dissecting the estimates for any 
particular year. Thus,in the year 1901, out of a total estimated revenue 
of Francs 30,751,054, the Domaine Prive Taxes are estimated at Francs 
17,424,630, considerably more than half, to which must be added 
a further sum of Francs 2,075,000 under '' Produits du Portefeuille/* 
supposed to represent the profits (although it is doubtful whether all 
are included), derivable by the State from its holdings in the Trusts 
it has created ; giving a total of Francs 19,499,630, or not far short of 
three-quarters of the whole revenue. 



It has, therefore, been made abundantly clear by the foregoing : 
1. — That the financial existence of the Congo State is based upon 
the acquirement of vast quantities of rubber and ivory which it dis- 
poses of in the Antwerp market. 

2. — That this rubber is acquired from the natives by extortion, 
compulsion, and the institution of Slavery on a colossal scale. 

3. — That the Congo State acquires further large sums by this 
means, which are not accounted for in any public manner. 

4. — That the published estimates are quite untrustworthy, and 
do not represent the real condition of the finances. 

5. — That but for the proceeds of this so-called taxation, which 
is really nothing but pure robbery, the Congo State would become 
insolvent, and go into bankruptcy to-morrow. 



22 



CHAPTER II. 

The Domaine de la Couronne. 

**The receipts of the Domaine . . . are deposited in their entirety in 
the State Treasury, as the Budgets published in the" Bulletin Officiel 
FOR THE years 1892 TO 1903 SHOW. . . . " — Bulletin Officiel de VElat 
Inddpendant du Congo, June, 1903. 

THIS portion of the Domaine Prive is wrapped in mystery. It 
appears to be more of a Royal Preserve, if possible, than any 
other portion of the Domaine Prive. 

Its area is marked in the accompanying map. 

The Domaine de la Couronne " constitutes a civil person '' says 

the decree (constitue une personne civile) — and also, it can be 
inferred, une personne royale / 

It is administered by a Committee of three persons nominated 
by Royal Decree. The disposal of the produce of the Domaine de 
la Couronne is entirely left to the Sovereign King. 

Some people think that the yield of the Domaine de la Couronne 
is used in building up a secret fund utiUsed by the Sovereign as he 
may think fit. The yield of the Domaine de la Couronne does not figure 
in the budgetary returns published in the Bulletin Officiel, 

The author has endeavoured to ascertain the extent of the annual 
yield from the Domaine de la Couronne, but hitherto without success. 
The greatest secrecy is observed regarding this portion of King 
Leopold's African dominions. 

Some few months ago, a Belgian officer who had been employed 
in this particular territory, and who had come to loggerheads with 
the Congo State Authorities, wrote to the author offering his memoirs 
bearing particularly upon the rubber-collecting system in vogue 
therein, which he described in lurid terms. 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 




The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Domaine de la Coubonne. 



24 



CHAPTER III. 

In the Domaine Prive, 

Difficulty of Obtaining Information — ^A French Traveller's 
Experiences — ^The Punishment of the Village of 
M'Batchi — " The Terrifying Example of the Belgians" — 
The Traffic in Weapons of Precision — Danger caused 
TO European Interests thereby — The Sultanates of 
THE Upper Ubanghi — ^The Batetla, Ababua, and Azande 
Uprisings — In the Bangala District — ^Atrocities and 
Depopulation. 

''Our only programme, I am anxious to repeat, is the work of moral 
and material reg-eneration." — Kihg Leopold. 

THE consequences which the practical application of the Policy 
explained in the previous chapter were bound to bring about, 
so far as the victims of it — the natives — ^are concerned, were so 
natural and inevitable that the specific records of oppression and 
cruelty which have accumulated for the past eleven years, are chiefly 
valuable as illustrations of necessary effects. 

Of such illustrations there is no lack although, but for the pecu- 
Uar conditions existing in the Congo State, they would be more numer- 
ous even than they are. The peculiar conditions are these : that 
outside the missionaries of denominations other than Roman Catholic* 
and chance travellers passing through various parts of the Congo 
territories from time to time, there is no independent public opinion 
available in the Congo itself.f All the Europeans in the Congo 
territories north of Leopoldville — with the exception of those we have 
stated — are the servants in one form or another of the Congo State 
and its subsidiary Trusts. While they are in the State's service 

* The Roman Catholic Missions are all Belgian ; and it will be readily 
understood that under the circumstances it is difficult, if not impossible, to 
expect that they will tell what they know, and what they have seen. 

t On the borders of the South-eastern Districts of the State, valuable 
information can occasionally be obtained from Europeans living* in proximity 
to those borders. The reader is referred to the chapters under the Katanga 
Trust. 



25 

their lips are sealed. If, as frequently happens, they fall out with 
the State and upon returning home allow their experiences to be made 
public, the State promptly does its best to discredit them, and gener- 
aUy succeeds. The individuals employed by the State and its Trusts 
usually belong to a type that offers facilities for the purpose desired. 
There is usually something that has been done, or said, or written 
by these individuals which provides a useful weapon the State never 
fails tQ make use of. Seldom is it thait an individual who has left 
the State or its Trusts, after being employed by either one or both, 
and publishes revelations, escapes having something in his past raked 
up against him. It is because Mr. Canisius appears to me to form one 
of those exceptions, that his experiences have been incorporated in 
this pamphlet. The worst that has been advanced against Mr, 
Canisius, to my knowledge, has been that he is *' an obscure American/* 

Independent missionaries, not belonging to the Roman Catholic 
faith, and chance travellers, constitute, therefore, in the main, the only 
sources of information available from which illustrations can be ob- 
tained of the practical working of the Policy.* Mr. H. R. Fox- 
Bourne, whose work has already been alluded to, has collected all 
these illustrative accounts, and if we did not know that the appalling 
details recorded in the same were merely the fatal sequel of an 
existing root cause, they would in themselves be sufficient to convince 
the average man that a system of rule productive of such brutalities 
must have a vicious element at its very core. With pre-existing know- 
ledge of the system, no man of common-sense and of independent 
judgment can doubt for a single moment that the explanation of these 
perpetual outrages is to be found in the Policy itself. 

It is not my intention here to recapitulate the illustrative 
accounts of the working of the Policy, so effectively dealt with in 
Mr. Fox-Bourne's volume, at any rate, as regards the sections of the 
Congo territories where the State alone compels the natives to 
produce rubber and ivory in the form of taxation. I may be 
compelled to refer to events with which the public is already 
familiar in discussing the operations of the Trusts in order to make 
my account intelligible ; but so far as the area of the Congo territories 
are concerned, where extortion, in the shape of government taxes goes 
on, I propose to quote from one or two sources with which the public 
as a whole is not familiar, and which are somewhat enlightening in 
respect to the specific points covered. 

* The reports of the British Consul at Boma are never published in 
their entirety. 



26 

Extracts from the experiences published by the Colonial Institute 
of Marseilles, of M. Leon C. Berthier, who for two years — ^May, 1899, 
to June, 1901 — travelled on the Congo River and its affluents the 
Ubanghi and Welle*. M. Berthier's experiences are recorded in the 
form of a diary. 

The Punishment of the Village of M'Batcht for not 
producing sufficient quantities of Rubber. 

"Belgian Post of Imesse, well constructed. The Chief of the Post 
of Imesse (Belgian Congo) is absent ; he has gone to punish the 
village of M'Batchi, up river, guilty of being a little late in paying 
the rubber tax, imposed by Boula Matari (Stanley's old name, by 
which the Congo State is known). 

"Nine o'clock in the evening. A canoe full of Congo State soldiers 
returns from the pillage of M'Batchi. And yet this Free State was 
created in order to civilise the black races ! 

" Post of Ibenga, in the river of that name, affluent of the Congo. 
Before arriving, we passed the canoe of the Chef de Poste of Imesse, 
who gave us details of the punishment of M'Batchi, thirty killed, 
fifty wounded ! ! I 

"At three o'clock, M'Batchi, the scene of the bloody punishment 
of the Chef de Poste of Imesse. Poor village ! The debris of miser- 
able huts, and of canoes covered with a bark which resembles birch ; 
in the huts, above the smoking embers, one or two human skulls. The 
natives have taken refuge in the bush, and the blandishments of Shaw, 
who speaks to them in Bangala, cannot induce them to approach. 
One goes away, humiliated and saddened, from these scenes of desola- 
tion, filled with indescribable feelings. How can these negroes be 
really blamed if one fine day they surprise one of their white oppres- 
sors and exterminate him ? Probably it will not be one of those 
guilty for the destruction of the village, but an innocent person who 
will pay for the guilty.** 

The Terrifying Example of the Belgians. 

' -The Lobay river, Post of Morigoumba. t The whites are installed 
here, but the rubber does not come in. The terrifying example of 
the Belgians is the cause that the natives from Brazzaville to Banghi, 



* Notes de reconnaissance et d'exploration economique au Cong'o Fran9ais. 
Annales de llnstitut Colonial de Marseilles, 
t French Bank. 



27 

retreat before the white man, and that notwithstanding their intense 
desire for European goods, they will not come in to acquire them 
against rubber, fearing that the Moloch of European rapacity will 
oppress them as in the territory of Boula Matari. Ten days ago, the 
natives of the neighbourhood of Morigoumba seized a canoe full of 
soldiers, deserters from the Free State, and ate them. An eye for 
an eye . . . 

" In front of the Belgian village of Ibengue, It is curious to 
notice that the Belgian bank is far less inhabited than the French 
bank ; the natives leave the Belgian bank in masses to take refuge 
with us." 

Introducing Weapons of Precision into tlie Country. 

In view of the claim of the Congo State to have abided most 
rigorously by the clauses of the Berlin Act in respect to the intro- 
duction of quick-firing guns into the Congo territory — ^notwith- 
standing that its cannibal army of 20,000 men is armed with the 
Albini rifle — M. Berthier*s notes on this point will be read with 
considerable interest. 

" The M'Bomu river (at Bangasso) is very wide here and forms the 
southern basis of- the square ; it is the route through which the ivory 
passes, under our noses and beneath the eyes of our Post, to be sold 
on the other bank (Belgian) where it is paid for in Albini rifles, despite 
all the Acts of Berlin and Brussels forbidding even the sale of cap- 
guns. On all the convoys of rifles and ammunition which 
are sent there, the representative of the Congo State, declare by 
proems verbal in good and due form, the disappearance of a few cases 
of rifles and cartridges, which are not lost for every one, by virtue of 
the adage that nothing is lost and nothing is created in nature. They 
are stolen. By a new magic, the secrets of which I know, these quick- 
firing guns thus ' virtually lost ' become transformed into ivory, at 
the rate of a rifle and a small quantity of cartridges for about 50 
kilos, of ivory." 

M. Berthier calls the attention of the French Colonial Minister 
to these facts. 

In the third extract from M. Berthier*s diary quoted above, the 
traveller writes from Bangasso, the capital of one of the three great 
Sultanates of the Upper Ubanghi. These three Sultanates are known 
as Bangasso, Rafai and Semio. The tribes which inhabit them are 
closely allied ethnologically. The first is mainly composed of Sakaras, 
the second of Azandes and Krischs ; the third of Azandes. They 



28 

are respectively ^strong and homogeneous, and it is amongst them that 
combination against the white man might not uneasily become a 
reality. The territories of the Semio Sultanate are split up, on paper, 
between the Congo State, France, and the Bahr-el-Ghazal, which is 
partly occupied by AnglO'Egyptian forces and partly by Congo 
State forces, and over which Egypt and Great Britain have the Sover- 
eign claim. To arm the chiefs of these Sultanates with quick-firing 
guns — such as M. Berthier tells us plainly is done with the connivance 
of the Congo State Authorities, so far as Bangasso is concerned, for 
the purpose of obtaining revenue in the shape of ivory— is, therefore, 
a most reprehensible and dangerous proceeding for which Anglo- 
Egyptian and French interests will suffer ultimately. 

In this connection it is interesting to reproduce a paragraph 
from an Antwerp newspaper, La Tribune Congolaise, which is friendly 
to the State, and from the columns of which a great deal of valuable 
information can from time to time be obtained. This paragraph, as 
will be seen, refers more particularly to the Semio Sultanate, a large 
portion of which is in Congo State territory. 

'' The Sultan Semio. — ^The Sultan Semio, whose territories are 
situate on the confines of the Welle and Upper Ubanghi, cannot 
exercise his direct authority over a country so vast as that which he 
rules, so his territories are divided into districts, administered by great 
chiefs. These chiefs have, in their respective villages, a sufficient 
number of soldiers to keep the conquered tribes in obedience Thus 
Bondono and Semio have a troop of 350 men armed with guns; Djeme 
has 60 ; Gatanga 100 ; Yapato 64 ; Kipa 50 ; Biamboro 60, etc. . . . 
There is, indeed, in every village an aboriginal chief,* but he has an 
Azande soldier to watch him and to give him orders, and he it is who 
is the real chief. . . . The soldiers of Semio alone possess guns. . . . 
This organisation, coupled with a rule of very great severity by 
the chiefs, keeps everyone obedient, and makes of Semio a powerful 
and redoubtable chief. In such a country. . . . this form of rule 
gives excellent results." — Tribune Congolaise, May 2Ist, 1903. 

It would seem clear from M. Berthier's notes, and from the above 
passage that these powerful Sultanates are in process of being armed 
with the connivance, if not by the direct action of the Congo State. 
Possibly the knowledge of this fact has something to do with the 
tardily expressed desire of His Majesty's Government to get the 

* The Azandes are immigrant conquerors in the region where they hold 
sway. — E.D.M. 



29 

Belgians out of the Bahr-el-Gha«al, seeiilg that Semio's authority 
extends over no inconsiderable proportion of that Anglo-Egyptian 
province. 

Many other indications^ point to the territory of the Upper 
Ubanghi Sultanates not being the only portion of the Congo State 
where! repeating rifles and ammunition are finding their way into the 
hands of the natives. We find in the annals of La Tribune Congolaise — 
which, as already explained is friendly to the Congo State, and 
publishes more Congolese information than any other newspaper in 
Belgium — for 1902, a good many interesting side-lights on this 
question. 

Thus the Records of January, 1902, contain the following some- 
what contradictory information: 

"State Inspector Malfeyt crushes the Batetlas at Bulidi in 
Southern Katanga." 

** The Batetlas have, it seems, not entirely submitted, and are 
taking refuge in the Lomami district." 

This serves to remind us that although some seven years have 
passed since the Batetla mutiny took place, in the course of which 
the mutineers have several times defeated the Congo State troops 
and captured quantities of rifles and ammunition, the State has shown 
itself powerless to crush it. Further references to the Batetlas will 
be found in the chapter devoted to the Katanga Trust. It is, I 
believe, a fact that the Batetla mutineers hold a large portion of the 
South-Eastem region, in which they have organised a system of rule 
modelled upon the lines of the Congo States. 

The records of La Tribune Congolaise for January, 1902, also 
contain the following : 

** Revolt of the Ababuas ended. Commandant Lahaye captured 
from the rebels 107 Albinis and much ammunition." 

The records for February tell us that : 

** M. Mardulier, Commissaire for Bangala captured three of the 
most important Budja chiefs. He captured 50 Albinis, 450 cap guns, 
4 revolvers and much ammunition." 

In connection with the Ababua revolt, La Tribune Congolaise 
published in May an interview with Commandant Chaltin — a high 
State Official — upon his return from the Congo. This gentleman is 
reported to have expressed himself thus : '' The reason of the Ababua 
revolt is the same as that which provokes nearly all these risings, viz. : 
the laziness of the negro and his opposition to civilisation." A truly 
illuminating remark. In October, La Tribune Congolaise announced 



30 

that Commandant Lahaye, the conqueror of the Ababuas had been 
killed by the '' Chief of Kodia/* who afterwards committed suicide. 

A Revolt and its Sequel. 

A last quotation from La Tribune Congolaise may not be amiss, 
as it illustrates rather pertinently the remark attributed by that paper 
to Commandant Chaltin respecting the Ababua revolt. 

In March of last year, La Tribune Congolaise announced that 
the Azandes had risen, and a column had been sent against them. 
In August, this announcement was followed by the statement that 
Commandant Wacquez had defeated the great Azande chief Fune, 
and that the revolt was at an end. In November, this again was 
followed by the account of a correspondent of that paper in the Upper 
Congo, quite as illuminating as the remark attributed to Commandant 
Chaltin, to this effect : 

" Commandant Wacquez has worked a great deal in the Makua 
zone. All this rich southern region has submitted ; it is making 
rubber. It brings in enormous quantities and will bring in more. 
The great chief Fune, defeated by Wacquez is now devoted, and 
himself furnishes about 30 lbs. of rubber monthly, and will furnish 
without difficulty 2000 kilos.'' 

The chief's '* laziness " had been most effectively cured ! 

In the Bangala District. 

The following extracts are from letters written to the author 
by a prominent missionary of the British Baptist Missionary Society, 
and dated respectively, May 5th, 8th and 17th, 1902. The original 
letters are in the author's possession. 

Extract from Letter dated May 5th. 

" You may have heard that the State soldiers on returning from 
expeditions against natives have to give a hand for every cartridge 
used, hence the baskets of hands you read about in some reports. 
They do not care where the hands come from, hence you see in this 
picture that one boy has lost two hands and the other one, and the 
woman has lost one hand. There is no excuse for cutting off the 
hands of boys and women, and when such hands are presented 
before a Commissaire or Commandant, he should have shown his 
disgust by punishing the soldiers who brought them. It may be said 
in excuse that there is little or no difference between a woman's and a 
man's hand ; well, let that pass, but surely there is such a difference 



31 

between a child's hand and a man's that the most cursory look would 
have detected it. This photo was taken three or four years after the 
hands were cut off, consequently the lads have grown and one cannot 
fully appreciate the cruelty of the deed/'* 

Extract from Letter dated May 8th. 

'* Now in answer to your questions. The Bangalas do not collect 
rubber for the State or anyone else. There is practically no rubber 
in the country occupied by the Bangalas proper. They pay taxes 
in goats, fowls, palm oil, eggs and cassava bread. They must take 
up certain quantities every month, and in many cases every fortnight • 
The tax is now becoming increasingly heavy, because when it was 
first assessed there was nearly double the population that there is 
now, and although the population has so decreased, yet the amount 
levied is the same. When charged with taxing the people the State 
replies that they buy the produce of the natives. It is true that they 
give the natives something, but it is far below the market value. For 
example, a locality takes one goat worth 600 brass rods, 100 fowls 
worth 300, 10 pots of oil worth 100, cassava bread worth about 900 
rods, fish worth 150 rods, in all 2,050, and they will think themselves 
lucky if they get 500 rods in return, and the State soldier who takes it 
up will keep back 100 of those. You can roughly reckon brass rods 
at 5 francs per hundred. I am personally acquainted with natives 
who have given 600 for a goat and only received 100 in return. They 
are forced to take the produce or men are tied up, and have to be 
redeemed at so many thousands of rods. 

The towns in the Bangala district have to supply the State with 
men. An order is sent from Boma to the Commissaires of districts 
saying that men must be sent down, and then the Commissaires have 
to supply as many as they can from their districts. Some become 
soldiers, others workmen. They are rated at a certain wage. You 
might ask — are they ever paid ? I know some are paid and I know 
others are not. The special hardship is here, there is no system in 
their demands. Towns are dropped on according to the demands of 



* In the debates in the Belgian House, in July, 1901, M. Georges Lorand, 
leader of the Radical Section of the Chamber, said: "As a result of what I 
have stated here, the particular officer, whom I challeng-ed to deny the facts, 
has written, g-iving- me information in which he admits that there ^were 
trophies (severed human hands) brought in.'" The Reverend Father 
Cambier, in a communication to the Belgian Press in 190 1 admitted that 
the Congo soldiers cut off ears and hands. (See The Tmth about Civilisation 
in Congoland,) 



32 

Boma or the whim of the Commissatre, to supply so many men, and 
they must find them somehow. And these oft-recurring demands are 
eating the very life out of a decreasing people. Punishment is meted 
out if any objections are raised. 

Cases of oppression, etc., that have come under my 0¥m immedi- 
ate notice, I have dealt with at the time by forcing native soldiers to 
retum^^Iooted goods, and in more serious matters I have written direct 
to the Commissaire, and in some cases he has taken steps to right 
matters and in others he has not moved. Native soldi^s have been 
sent often with no white man. I have heard of their doings, but could 
not swear to the facts, because they have not come under my 
personal observation. That is the difficulty, to prove aU you believe 
to be true. The Bangalas are very largely used as scddiers, and pro- 
bably for this reason their country proper has not so many grievances 
as some, for they have said on more than one occasion : how can we 
go and fight for you, if you vrorry our fathers and mothers while we 
are gone ? 

Re cutting off of hands. I do not know from whom the order 
emanates. But this I know — there are victims who have survived 
the cruelty in every district, in some mcwre than others. I know white 
men who have seen the baskets of hands being carried to the Central 
State Station, and others have tcAd me of the hands being put in a 
line or lines. State soldiers themselves give as their reason for this 
barbarous deed, that they have to account for the use of their cart- 
ridges in this way. The cutting off of hands for this reason is a com- 
mon report on the Upper River and is generally believed by all who 
live there. 

I wish you every success in your endeavour to throw hght upon 
this * open sore ' of Central Africa and trust that the agitation may 
result in lasting good to poor Africa." 

Extract from Letter dated May 17th. 

'' In reply to your questions. 1 — Re population. No proper 
statistics have ever been taken, and I could only give guesses. Since 
1890, in a district with which I am well acquainted, one town half a 
mile long has disappeared, and another town a quarter of a mile long 
has also gone ; another small town has gone, and up a creek where 
there were 1,500 people there are scarcely 400 now. The towns left 
are not so populous as they were, in fact, the River folk are dying 
out from various causes and the State has in several places induced or 
forced the backwoods folk to start towns on the River, Between 



33 

1890 and 1895 there was no perceptible diminution of the people, 
since 1895 there has been a reduction by one half of the population. 
Forced labour was begun in this district in 1895, arid the food tax was 
assessed in 1896. Undoubtedly ''sleeping sickness" accounts for a 
good number of folk, and all the more, because the strong and virile 
have been taken away and those that have been left, have had the 
heart wrung out of them by a tax that is pressing moEe and more 
heavily on a decreasing people. The State has every two or three 
miles a sentry, with a subordinate or two, and two or three servants 
from the locality. It is a part of his duty to see that the tax is 
taken up regularly and if he does not do so he is severely rebuked by 
the Commissaire, Now a keen-witted soldier will see to it that he is not 
reprimanded, and an unprincipled soldier will do anything to the people 
to get the tax out of them, rather than run the risk of a reprimand 
and so making himself a marked man in the Commtssaire* s book. 
I leave you to imagine all the oppression and misery that arise out 
of this system. I have known demands for men sent down, but only 
•once was the demand accompanied by a white officer, and that was 
wrhen the Commissaire came himself. There has been active opposi- 
tion and there is generally passive opposition to recruiting. Both 
the men and women object and grumble very much about the re- 
"Cruiting, but they have to submit. Occasionally a man volunteers 
for work. I have seen mothers, wives and relatives cry and protest 
against their children, husbands or relatives being sent as recruits, 
because so few return. 

The present policy I condemn most heartily and the government 
will be a curse, rather than a blessing, to the natives while it continues 
to pursue the course it does. It has reduced the natives to miserable 
slaves, and thinks more of its own profits than of the natives* good. 

The native government was infinitely better than the present, 
for then there was far more security for native life and property. 
I lived there before the State, or at least when the State was in its 
infancy and had not made its baneful power felt, and I have lived 
there all these years after, so I trust I know what I am writing about." 



Such are the results of the Policy of the Congo State ; such the 
•consequences of *' tax-collecting " in that portion of the Domaine Prive 
Tiot farmed out to the subsidiary Trusts, where the State Officials 
-and the State's Officers are solely and wholly responsible for the carry- 
ing out of the Policy which goes by the name in Brussels of Moral 

.and Material Regeneration. 

c 



34 



CHAPTER IV. 



The Subsidiary Trusts. 



No. 1. The Katanga Trust 

The Foundation of the Katanga Company — ^The Decree of 1885 
AS it affected the Company — The Result of the Circu- 
lars OF 1891 and 1892 — ^The Resuscitation of the Company 
IN 1899 — ^The Market Value of the Company's Shares 
AFTER its Resuscitation — ^The Condition of the Katanga 
Region in 1899 and 1900 — Lawlessness of the Congo 
Soldiery — Herr Rabinek's Arrangements with Congo 
State Officials and the Katanga Company — The Absorp- 
tion OF THE Company by the Congo State — ^The Creation, 
Composition, and Nature of the Katanga Trust. 

ON the 16th April, 1901, the parent of the Thys group of Belgian 
Companies, La Compagnie pour le Commerce et V Industrie, 
founded the Katanga Company, Compagnie du Katanga, with a capi- 
tal of 3,000,000 francs, represented by 6,000 '* privileged " shares of 
500 francs each. Eighteen thousand ordinary shares were also issued 
*' without designatioi} of value."* The mineral value of the Katanga 
district was supposed to be considerable, and preferential rights over 
all the mines in it were granted to the Company for twenty years, 
with further privileges, on condition that, besides other stipulations, 
within three years two steamers should be launched on the affluents 
of the Upper Congo or the adjacent lakes, and at least three stations 
established within the district. The Congo State received, under this 
agreement, 600 of the privileged shares and 1,800 of the ordinary 
shares. The Katanga Company received from the Congo State, in full 
proprietorship, a third of the territories belonging to the " Domainef 

* <*Bilans Congolais." Alphonse Poskin, Brussels, 1900. (page 41.) 

t The ** Domaine," or Domaine PrtvS as it is usually called, was created 

in July I, 1885 — ''all vacant land must be considered as belonging* to the 

State." See Introduction and Chapter I. 



as 

of the .State situated m the tenitodes nelecred to m the pTeB&atooxi" 
vention, and the cancQS&ion for d9 years of the miamg nghtsin the 
conceded territories.*** 

The Katanga Company host no time in <despaAobing expeditknis 
to explore aiKl open vap its concessioa. It may he oaoted in passing 
that under the al!K)ii!<e Com^ntion,'tiie iELaiajBga Company received a 
third of the territories ** bdongpig tto the Domasne of the State/' 
situated in the Katanga district. The " Domaine of the State,** 
according to the Decree erf July 1, 1685 (see .note), consisted of ** all 
vacant lands '*— that is to say, all lands ujpon Milhich natives were not 
actually squatting. It logicaUy follows, therefore, that the Katanga 
Company had been grasrted a large area of '' vacamt land "-^that is 
to say, uninhabited wilderness. Of cansse, the lands l3dng within 
its concession were not in the least ** vacant " — as the Company was 
very soon to find out. The Concession had not even been explored. 
Yet this huge, unexplored area, teeming with population, came within 
iht operation of the Decree of 1865. The Katanga district had been» 
inierentially, declared " vacant " by Royal Decree signed in Brussels 
in 1665, without anything being known of the country. It is well to 
draw attention to this point, as it is the illegal basis-nill^al from the 
point of view of international law and ethics-**upoin which the Congo 
State has built up these many years an imposing array of legal formulas, 
to give mere robbery an appearance of legality. It is upon the mon- 
strous assumption embodied in the Decree of 1665, and those which 
followed it, that the Congo State rests its claim to compel the natives 
of the Katanga region to pay taxes, because, forsooth, by a stroke 
of the pen, seventeen years ago, its Sovereign declared the Katanga 
region to be " vacant land,*' and consequently tiie property of the 
State ! 

The Katanga Company lost no time in profiting by its Conven- 
tion with the State. By Hie end of the year 1691, the first^expedition 
had so far succeeded that the Congo State flag was run up at Bunkeia, 
and Msiri, the principal ruler of that part of the country, had been shot. 
The Company's second expedition was wiped out by Arab half-castes, 
in May of the ensuing year (1692). Meanwhile, the Sovereign of the 
Congo State, having by the Decree of 1885 annexed all " vacant 
lands," had launched through his Commissioners at Bangala, Basan- 
kusu, and Yakoma, those famous Decrees appropriating to the State 



* Bull0iin Ofieieif September, 1691, and Afmexe to same. Tiie Convealioo 
was signed March 12, 1891. 



36 

airthe rubber, ivory, and other "fruits " of the " Domaine " (Decem- 
ber, 1891 ; February, 1892 ; May, 1892), which led Colonel Thys, as 
head of the Compagnie du Congo four le Commerce et VIndustriey to 
denounce the King before Europe of having violated the spirit and 
letter of the Berhn Act^ by appropriating the hereditary lands of the 
natives and by forbidding merchants to purchase the fruits of those 
lands, the exchange of which against European goods constituted 
the word " trade '' used in the Berlin Act. 

If, at that time, England had contained a Governing Statesman 
sufficiently alive to the importance of the subject, and sufficiently 
far-seeing to realise its potentialities, Europe would not be confronted 
to-day with the Nemesis of her own back-slidings. However that may 
be, if those Belgians who affect pained surprise at the strictures of 
Englishmen upon the State's policy as it appears to-day stripped of 
its h5rpocrisies and cant, will take the trouble to turn up the files of 
the Mouvement Giographique — the then organ of the Thys group of 
Companies — ^for 1892, they will be in a position to appreciate how 
dull and tameless our criticisms compare with the flood-gates of abuse 
poured out in the columns of that interesting publication. Men's 
memories are so short — even in Belgium. King Leopold declined to 
give way on the question of " principle,'* but he found it convenient 
to square his adversary by well-timed concessions. 

The Katanga Company, however, became virtually extinct, for 
by the Decree of October 30, 1892, the Katanga region was closed 
to merchants,* and so remained until July, 1899, when the Company 
was galvanised once more into life. On December 18 of that year 
(1899), M. Georges Brugmann, presiding over the annual meeting of 
the Compagnie du Congo pour le Commerce et V Industrie, made the 
following statement : 

" The * Katanga ' Company has at last emerged from its period 
of inactivity which circumstances, foreign to its wishes, had imposed 
upon it. In execution of its Convention with the Congo State of 
March 12, 1891, the Company has sent two steamers and four lighters 
to the Tanganyika region, to be launched on lakes Tanganyika and 
Mweru. . . . Let me add that the extraordinary general meeting 

* This was expressly admitted by the Congd State Authorities in the 
communication they sent to the Morning Post in February of this year (1903), 
in connection with the Rabinek case, of which more anon. The statement 
of the Congo State Authorities reads: ''The exploitation of india-rubber was 
forbidden in the territory of the Katangfa by virtue of the decree of October 
30, 1892." 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 




The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Katanga Trust. 



r. 



d8 

of the shareholders of the Katanga Company, held on July 12 last, 
approved the resohition adopted by the G)mpany's directorate, in 
consequence of a correspondence exchanged with the G)ngo State, 
following upon which, a mixed commission to delimit the conceded 
territories has been sent to Africa." 

In its issue of December 18, 1889, the Mouvement Geographique 
published a map showing the area of the " Concessions of the Katanga 
Company." The area of that concession is marked upon the map 
which accompanies this article. 

The resuscitation of the Katanga Company *' in consequence ** 
of the " correspondence " with the Congo State referred to by M. 
Brugmann, appears to have had a marked effect upon the Cotnpany's 
shares, for in July, 1899, we find the 500 Francs '* privileged " shares 
(of which be it remembered the State held 600) quoted on the Antwerp 
Stock Exchange at 1,260 Francs, and the ordinary shares (of which be 
it remembered the State held 1,000), of undesignated value, quoted 
at 895 Francs, giving a total capitalisation at those evaluations for 
the 600 privileged and 18,000 ordinaries, of 23,610,000 Francs, or close 
upon one million sterling. 

In due course, the Katanga Company set to work. Its director 
in Africa, M. L^^que — a Frenchman, I believe — ^was furnished on 
12th October, 1899, by the Company's Administration in Brussels 
with a power of attorney of the most extensive kind, of which the 
concluding words read as follows : 

'* And generally to do, in connection with the powers above 
conferred, all that the mandatory may think advisable although not 
foreseen in the present " [document]. 

The reason for referring to this point with some detail, will appear 
later on. 

It would seem from a sworn declaration of M. Lev^que, dated 
August 12, 1901, and referring to events in 1900 and 1901, that the 
Company's operations were anything but brilliant ; but that it had 
succeeded in carrying out certain stipulations of its contract with the 
Congo State which the latter thought '' impossible of accamplish- 
ment" ; and further, that the Congo State's relations with the Katanga 
Company became strained almost immediately after the agreement 
was signed. We may judge of the former fact by certain passages in 
M. L^v^que's testimony. For instance, he speaks of "the total absence 



of rubber on the Tanganyika " and of the " diffictdties of coUecting 
rubber on Lake Mweru in sufficient quantities to pay expenses/' 
Two other facts also appear very clearly from M. L6v^ue's testimony, 
and from other evidence which is not in dispute. The first of these 
facts was that the Congo State Authorities, in the interval which had 
elapsed between the failure of the Katanga Company's original ex- 
peditions into the Katanga territory, of which I have already spoken 
( 1891 and 1892), and the new arrangement arrived at with the Katanga 
Company in 1899, had been tax-collecting and fighting in tiie Katanga 
region, the " vacant lands " and the *' fruits " of which, it will be 
remembered, had been appropriated by the State by virtue of the 
Decrees of 1885 and the Circulars of 1891 and 1892. Several 
'* stations " or State posts had been established in the coimtry> for 
the purpose of " collecting " the rubber tribute from the natives. 
(I shall have something to say about this further on). The result of 
these " operations " is indicated in the sworn declaration of M. L6v^que 
already mentioned. ** The environs of the Mpueto station," he says, 
'* which formerly produced much rubber, no longer produce any, 
on accoimt of the lack of care on the part of the Congo State in getting 
this article, want of care which was principally due to the hostility 
of the natives against the Congo State's officials." Again referring 
to a certain part of the region in question, which was occupied by 
revolted soldiers of the State, he remarks, '* that this portion of the 
territory could not be entered by anyone officially connected with 
the Congo State " {etait inabordable a tout ce qui etait officid dans 
le Congo), 

Of the utter lawlessness of the Congo State soldiers and their 
brutality, not only towards the natives but also to white men, there 
is ample proof ; as also that the C(xigo State officers have no control 
over their soldiers. M. L6v^que refers himself to the treatment by 
Congo soldiery of several white men at Fort Chinama at the end of 
1900, In the declaration already mentioned, he says : " The Askaris 
of the Congo State several times threatened to shoot M. Van der 
Bosch. He was abominably treated by them, dragged as far as 
Lukafu (Lukaffo), given putrid meat to eat, etc." 

The second fact, which has an important bearing upon our 
stoary, is that prior to the resuscitation of the Katai^a Company, an 
Austrian merchant — the late Herr Rabinek— established in British 
territory, contiguous to the Congo State frontier, and having open 
credits with Scotch and German firms, had been trading in the 



40 

Katanga region with the consent of the Congo State officials, who 
had granted him permits for the purpose, and to whom he had paid^ 
for those permits, the sum of 2,450 francs.* 

As we have seen, the newly started operations of the Katanga 
Company had not been encouraging ; and when the late Herr Rabinek 
— ^hearing, no doubt, of the advent of the Katanga Company's repre- 
sentative in the country, and wishing, presumably, both to increase 
his own business transactions and to get upon good terms with the 
Company — approached the Company's representative and proposed 
a business transaction, he was welcomed with open arms. It may be 
advisable to state here that long before the resuscitation of the 
Katanga Company, and of the arrival of its manager, M. L6v6que, 
upon the scene, the late Herr Rabinek imported goods into and 
exported rubber from the Katanga country, filling up the Customs 
House forms, familiar to many Europeans in the region. 

What was the nature of the transaction between Herr Rabinek 
and the Katanga Company ? M. L6veque, relying upon his power of 
attorney, which gave him practically unlimited authority to conclude 
arrangements in his Company's interests, granted the Austrian trader 
a licence to collect ivory and rubber in the portion of the Katanga 
Company's territories which no Belgians dared enter ; but in which 
a non-Belgian merchant, travelling without soldiers or miUtary force 
whatever, could nevertheless succeed by legitimate commercial means 
to drive his trade. For this licence, Herr Rabinek was to pay ^f 10 per 
annum, and a further sum of one franc for every kilo, of rubber and 
ivory brought by him from the natives to be exported via British 
territory. All Herr Rabinek's purchases were to pass through M. 
L^v^que's hands in order that due record should be kept of the same. 
The Katanga Company stood to gain largely by the transaction* 
Herr Rabinek estimated his purchasing capacity at 100 tons of rubber 



* In the course of a futile attempt to clear itself of responsibility for the 
illegal arrest of the late Herr Rabinek, the Congo State, replying to an 
article of the writer's in the Afotning Post^ endeavoured to show that the 
unfortunate Austrian had been *' repeatedly warned " that his trading was 
illegal (an assertion which constitutes in itself a flagfrant violation of the 
Berlin Act), and with strange fatuity, cited specific officials, who, on specific 
dates, did, so it alleged, warn Herr Rabinek. The officials whose 
names it gave, were the very ones who granted Herr Rabinek his trading 
licences ; and the dates it gave were the very dates upon which the licences 
were granted by those officials — a fair sample of the Congo State s methods 
of argument ! When mendacity has become a cult, it is apt to over-reach 
itself, and to be hoist with its own petard. — E.D.M. 



41 

per annum, which, in the words of the Company's director, "would 
have brought the Company a profit of 100,000 francs per annum 
without risk or disbursements." The agreement was signed on 
September 23, 1900. M. L6v^que was delighted with the bargain 
he had struck, and so doubtless would his Company have been, but 
for an entirely unexpected development. 

While these events were occurring iii Africa, the Katanga Com- 
pany was being dissolved. From a more or less private concern, 
it had become a State Institution on the lines of the other **Domaine" 
Companies — so-called. What the precise reasons of this new move 
may have been is known to a few individuals in Belgiimi. Outsiders, 
who have not the privilege of sharing the official secrets of the Congo 
State and its acolytes, will, nevertheless, have Httle difficulty, in view 
of M. L6v6que's testimony and other indications, in forming their 
own conclusions, which point unmistakably, as the extract from the 
Gazette Coloniale referred to later on in Chapter VIII, to the fixed 
purpose of the Congo State, pursued with unflinching determination, 
to absorb every undertaking of quasi-independence still existing in 
that portion of the Congo Basin which the Powers handed over to 
its tender mercies in 1885. Chapter VIII is concerned with its 
absorption of the Kasai Companies. The history of the absorption 
of the Katanga Company has now to be told. 

On June 15, 1900, a Convention was signed by the Katanga 
Company on the one part, and the Congo State on the other, and 
published in the Bulletin Officiel. According to this Convention, the 
Katanga Company disappeared, and the Comite Special du Katanga 
took its place. The object of the Comite Special du Katanga was *'to 
ensure and direct a joint exploitation of all the territories belonging 
to the Domaine of the State and to the Katanga Company." In other 
words, the Katanga Company, like the Kasai Companies, became a 
Government concern, as was clearly demonstrated by the composition 
of its directorate. The Convention provided that the President of the 
Comite Special du Katanga was to be M, Droogmans. M. Droogmans 
is the Secretary of the Finance Department of the State. Other 
members were three officials of the State, and two directors of the 
Katanga Company. The officials of the State appointed to the 
Board were : M. Arnold, Director of the Service of Agriculture of 
the Domaine and of Central Book-keeping ; F. de Keyser, Director 
of the Finance Department, and R. Lombard, Director of the Depart- 
ment of Interior. The profits of the Comite Special du Katanga 



4A 

w^ne to be divided as to two- thirds for the Gngo State, and one^tfaiid 
to the Katanga Gmpany. The Convention, as already stated* 
became law, and holds good. 

Thns was created the Katanga Tmst. Thns became dosed to 
Intimate commeice in practice, as in theory it had been since 1892, 
another vast region of that intemationaUy free commercial land which 
the Berlin Act provided was to be thrown open to the unrestricted 
commercial intercourse of all nations. 

The efEect of the Congo State's PoUpy in the Katanga region 
upon Intimate trade existing within it ; upon the development of 
the British Protectorate adjoining ; upon the persons and property 
of merchants established within that British Protectorate; upon 
the persons and property of British native subjects living in that 
British Protectorate ; and upon the persons and property of the 
natives of the Katanga r^on itself, under the process known as 
moral and material pegeneeation — ^these things wiU be discussed 
in the next chapter. 




43 



CHAPTER V. 

No. K The Katanga Trust 

(Continued)* 

How THE Trust's Operations affect British Trade — The 
Rabinek Tragedy — Seizure of British Native Subjects, 
British Carriers, and British Goods by the Officials 
OF the Trust — ^The Case of M. de Mattos — Treatment 
OF Natives in the Katanga Territory— Various Testi- 
mony — ^Two Affidavits. 

** The field of acticKi in traude open to individuals oa the Congo ha» mover 
been, and is not restricted. . . . " — BtdleHn Officiel de FEtai IfuUpend€mt 
du Congo f June, 1903. 

SOUTH and East of the Katanga region fie the British possessions 
of Northern Rhodesia, and British Central Africa. British 
Central Africa has the shortest, cheapest aiid safest connecticni from 
the Ocean to all parts of the Congo State from the East. The Congo 
State Authorities take advsuitage of the roads — ^boilt at great expense 
through the British Central Africa Protectorate and Rhodesia, to 
forward their material into the Katanga region ; but European 
traders in British territory are not allowed to establish themselves 
in Congo State territory ; native traders, under British protection, 
are not permitted to trade with the natives of the Congo State ; and 
the latter are not allowed to sell rubber or other {xtxkice to such 
traders. They are not, iQdeed, allowed to sell it at all, because — 
as was shown in the previous chapter — ^the basis of Congo State 
rule in Africa is the assumption that the produce of the land does 
not belong to the native^ but to the Congo State Govemm^it, and 
the native has, therefore — according to Congo State *' law '* — ^no 
right to dispose of that produce of which he was, by the Decree of 
October, 1892, dispossessed. 

How efficaciously the agents of the Congo State carry out this 
poMcy in the Katanga region will presentiy be shown. Meanwhile, 
it is interesting to note the practically official testimony of Mr. 
Robert Codrington, in his rec^it '' Travel and Trade Routes in 



44 

Northern Rhodesia and adjacent parts of East Central Africa/ 
*' There is no trade, properly so-called," says Mr. Codrington, "on 
the Congo coast of Tanganyika, but all rubber and ivory is regarded 
as the property of the State, and has to be surrendered by the natives 
in fixed quantities annually. The natives, are, however, continually 
in rebellion, and the country is unsafe, except in the immediate 
vicinity of the military garrisons, and within the sphere of influence 
of the missionaries.'* 

The rigidity of the rules excluding merchants established in 
British territory from trading in the Katanga region, appears to have 
been temporarily relaxed in the case of the late Herr Rabinek, who, 
as already explained, was an Austrian subject with his headquarters 
in British territory. Herr Rabinek had obtained (presumably with- 
out central authority, judging from subsequent events) permits 
from the Congo State officials, Cerckel and Hennebert, in September, 
1899, and in February, 1900 — ^permits for which he had paid — to 
** trade in the Congo ;'* "to shoot elephants for five years," and 
'* to carry thirty-nine guns." He subsequently, as was explained 
in the previous chapter, obtained a further licence to trade from the 
Katanga Company. All available data tend to show that H^rr 
Rabinek was an honourable man, and was greatly trusted, both by 
the European firms, who sent him goods on credit, and by the natives 
to whom he sold those goods against rubber and ivory. He was in 
commercial relationship with the African Lakes Corporation, of 
Glasgow ; and with Messrs. Ludwig, Deuss & Co. ; E. H. C. Micha- 
helles & Co., of Hamburg and BJantyre, Prins & Stuerken, of Hamburg 
and Dar-es-Salaam ; and T. de Mattos, of Karonga. It is not my 
intention here to enter fully into the various incidents of the Rabinek 
tragedy. The full history of this, one of the most painful and 
scandalous episodes in the history of the Congo State, has yet to be 
told ; and will, I hope, be told, for the few remaining links in the 
chain are almost complete. But it is necessary to touch upon it here. 

Acting — as may be inferred — ^upon instructions from head- 
quarters, the local authorities of the Congo State in the Katanga 
region made up their minds to get rid of the Austrian, somehow or 
other. The new " Trust " which had come into existence could not 
allow a competitor in the field ; especially a competitor who 
approached the natives on a fair basis of trade, and not from the stand- 
point of being the owner of the produce which the natives were ex- 
pected to gather for the Trust's benefit. The Director of the Comite 
Special du Katanga refused to recognise the validity of the arrange- 



4:5 

ment arrived at between Herr Rabinek and the Katanga Company, 
2tnd after a series of incidents in the highest degree discreditable to 
the Congo State Authorities, Herr Rabinek was served with a warrant 
for arrest on board a British steamer, the " Scotia,'* at that time 
lying in the British waters of Lake Mweru. Conscious of the strength 
of his case, Herr Rabinek landed at Pueto, the Congo State station 
at the mouth of the Luapula, only to be sent in charge of native 
soldiers of the State to Albertville ; there judged and condemned 
by a court-martial to a year's imprisonment, without even being 
told* the reasoii of his condemnation. The one and only charge 
preferred against him was of having violated the rubber laws of the 
State. In the words used by His Majesty's Commissioner for Brit- 
ish Central Africa, who, in view of the disclosures made by the present 
writer, has recently investigated, on the spot, the circumstances 
attending the arrest of Herr Rabinek : " With reference generally 
to the occurrences connected with the arrest : Rabinek was trading 
in Congo Free State territory, partly because it was understood 
that the State was open to the trade of all nations (under the Berlirt 
Act), and especially, I understand, because he presumed that the 
permission to trade given him by M. L6v^que, forriierly chief authority 
in theJKatanga region, was a valid concession."! 

It is important to note that the sentence of one year's imprison- 
ment passed upon Herr Rabinek by the Albertville court-martial 
on June 14th, 1901, for trading in the Congo State, was not merely 
in flat contradiction with the Act of Berlin, which stipulated freedom 
of trade for all nations in the Congo Basin. It even violated the 
text of the Decree upon which the arrest, and the confiscation of Herr 
Rabinek's goods — ^which also took place — ^was based. That Decree + 
provides as a maximum penalty, a fine of 1,000 francs and one month's 
imprisonment. Herr Rabinek was condemned to a fine of 1,000 
francs, and one year's imprisonment, A judicial officer of the State, 
who attended the court-martial, protested against the sentence, but 
was over-ridden. The motive of this doubly illegal sentence is patent : 

* The origfinals of Herr Rabinek's letters written at the time are in vay 
possession. — E.D.M. 

+ "Africa, No. 4, 1903. Report from His Majesty's Commissioner for 
Britis Central Africa respecting- the ' Ang-lo- Congolese frontier in the neig-h- 
bourhood of Lake Mweru, and the circumstances attending the arrest of the 
late M. Rabinek." It may be noted that this Report confirms, in every 
particular, the statements previously made and published by me on the 
subject. — E.D.M. 

XDecret du 30 Octohre, 1892 {Bulletin Officiel p. 307.) 



4« 

it was to force Rabkiek to appeal, and as his appeal could only be 
heard in Bama, thousands of miles away, it compelled the unfortunaite 
trader to take that tremendous journey, under the tendo: care of his 
tormentors. That would get him out of the way*-cand on tiie 
>oamey, anything might happen. Something did happen — some- 
thing which M. L6v6que, the Director of the Katanga Qmipany, 
when he heard the sentence, prophesied would happen. Herr 
Rabinek died. He was last seen by Europeans unconnected 
with the Congo State, traveUing in charge of an escort of Congo 
soldiery, whose treatment of their prisoners, white or black, is 
notorious. 

He appears to have reached Stanle3rs^ille, in what condition may 
be imagined, on July IBth, and remained there unitil August 14t±i, 
when he was embarked on board the Congo State steamer, **Hainaut," 
for Boma. His last letters to his relatives — who are now claiming 
£10,000 damages from the Katanga Company for breach of contract- 
were full of the gloomiest predictions as to his fate. If they never 
heard from him again, he wrote, they could conclude that he had 
been made away with. The Congo State's version of his death is 
that it was attributable to fever, compUcated by marphia*mania ; 
but two friends* of Herr Rabinek have since publicly testi&ed that 
the suggestion of morphia*mania is untrue, and two others, I under- 
stand are prepared to do so. According to the ofiBicial statement of 
the Congo State, Rabinek became ill on August 28. On the 29th, 
the steamer — ^which does not appear to have had a doctor on board — 
called at Irebu, when a doctor came off, and pronoimced Rabinek 
suffering from fever» but not dangerously. On September 1st, in the 
evening, his temperature increased, and a Congo State "Commandant" 
on board the steamer administered a " hypodermic injection of 
quinine." t Half-an-hour afterwards Herr Rabinek expired. 

Thus was such trade as existed in the Katanga region prior to 
the formation of the Katanga Trust, effectually disposed of. 

But the Katanga Trust is not content with wiping out legitimate 
trade within its dominions. It must needs violently interfere with 
British trade in the neighbouring British Protectorates. In Septem- 
ber, 1901, M. T. de Mattos, a well-known merchant, established 



* Messrs. C . Fuhler (January, 1903) and J. Lawrence Gveen (February, 
1903). I sent these declarations to the Morning Post which pubUahed thesnu — 
E.D.M. 

t As per official documents communicated to the Auatro - Hua^^ftnao 
Government by the Authorities of the Coango State. • 



N 



4? 

eighteen years m Britisli territory, and a representalive of Sharrar's 
Zambesi Traffic Co. Ltd., aijid Zambesi Trading Co., whose respecta* 
biMty has been attested by Me3srs. Ludwig, Deuss & Co., merchants 
in Hamburg and East Africa, agents for the Gennan East Africa Line 
at Chinde, and of the Aberdeen Line at Quilimane, went down the 
Luapula from Chienje to Fort Rosebery in the African Lakes Cor- 
poration's steamer, " Scotia." The steamer took in firewood at the 
English village of Kampalla Luapolsi. Two natives employed by 
M. de Mattos were at Kampalla, whither they had been sent by M. 
de Mattos' ag^at on Lake Tanganyika to buy rubber in British 
territOTy. They reported the need of cloths to pay carriers to brii^ 
the rubber they had bought to Qiienje. Two canoes were hired by 
M. de Mattos from the Chief of the village of Kampalla, to convey 
the rubber by water to Chienje. The task was undertaken by the 
son of the Qiief, and three other natives. M. de Mattos then pro- 
ceieded to Chienje in the *' Scotia." Four days after his arrival at 
that place, his two rubber buyers turned up, reporting that all the 
rubber had been loaded into one large canoe, and, as they did not 
know how to paddle, they had travelled overland. The canoe, how- 
ever, did not arrive. Some three days later, the Katanga Company's 
steamer arrived, and upon enquiry being made, M. de Mattos ascer- 
tained that his canoe had been seized on the Luapula, when on its 
way to Chienje, and confiscated, together with its contents, by the 
Katanga Company's agent. The captain of the Katanga Company's 
steamer, challenged by M. de Mattos, admitted the fact ; adding 
that upon seeing the Belgian steamer bearing down upon them, two 
of the natives in the canoe had sprung into the water, but that one 
remained, and the canoe with the remaining native on board had been 
towed to Pueto, the Congo State's station on Lake Mweru. M. de 
Mattos lost no time in going to Pueto, and confronting the " Com- 
mandant " in charge. The latter replied that he was on board the 
Belgian steamer when she captured the canoe, and that the native 
who had remained on board was in gaol. He refused to answer any 
questions, declined to give the weight of the rubber seized, and 
behaved in an insolent manner generally. 

M. de Mattos thereupon left Pueto and laid his complaint before 
Dr. Blair Watson, British Magistrate for the Mweru district. The 
latter communicated with the *' Commandant " at Pueto. This 
individual repUed that the rubber had been collected from the Congo 
State side of the Luapula, from territory belonging to the Comite 
Special du Katanga— othervnse stated, the Katanga Trust — that the 



48 

seizure was perfectly legal, and that the natives would be dealt with 
by " la Justice/' This reply showed once again that the Congo 
Authorities, contrary to the Act of Berlin, do not allow the natives 
of the Congo State territories to sell rubber to European traders — or 
to anyone. But the statement in itself was also totally untrue, 
because, as already stated, the rubber was gathered by British natives 
in British territory, and was being conveyed to a British port, in i, 
British canoe, manned by British natives. There were several 
witnesses, white and black, to testify to this, and sworn declarations 
by the native buyers of M. de Mattos were made before Mr. J. L. 
Green, the British Native Commissioner. Owing to the energetic 
representation of Dr. Blair Watson, the Katanga Trust was subse* 
quently compelled to change its tune. Major We5ms, the Trust's 
chief representative, discredited his " Commandant," and on April 
29th, 1902 — six months after the seizure occurred — ^M. de Mattos 
received the following letter from Mr. Chesnaye, Acting-Adminis- 
trator at Fort Jameson. 

Administrator's Office, Fort Jameson, 

North-Eastern Rhodesia, 

April 29th, 1902. 

Sir, — I have the honour to inform you that t have received a 
letter from Dr. Blair Watson, Civil Commissioner, Mweru district, 
to the effect that Major Weyns, Representative of the Comite Special 
du Katanga, of the Congo Free State, had discredited the action taken 
by Mr. Chargois in seizing a canoe containing rubber belonging to you. 

At Dr. Watson's request, the rubber in question is being sent 
to Chienje to be delivered to yourself or your agents. Dr. Watson 
informs me that he has communicated with you on this subject. 

Representations are now being made to the Congo Free State 
authorities with a view of effecting the immediate release of the 
canoe and the native of Kampalla's, which were illegally seized by 
order of Mr. Chargois. 

Should you claim any compensation for illegal detention and 
seizure on the part of the Katanga Company, I will be glad to receive 
your claims and the reasons on which these demands are based. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

C. J. CHESNAYE, 
M. Teixeira de Mattos, Esq., Acting- Administrator. 

Karonga. 



49 

M. de Mattos sent in the following claim : — 
Value of rubber seized, 2,800 lbs. at 2/- per lb £280 

^ M. de Mattos had paid his ag-ents £^0 (2,800 sixpences) 
ill trade gfoods. Rubber is bougpht at 6d. per lb., and the 
claim made was based on the net European value the rubber 
would have fetched, if sold in London in February, 1902, after 
deducting expenses. 

Six months' interest 16 16 

Delay and travelling expenses to Pueto 50 

Illegal detention 100 

Total .. .. £446 16 

All he has ever received, however^ at the time his latest com- 
munications have reached me, is the value of three bags of rubber, 
all that the canoe contained according to the agents of the Katanga 
Trust ! Possibly, however, M. de Mattos may still get adequate 
compensation ; for a passenger on board the Belgian steamer when 
the seizure took place has signed an afl&davit (copy of which is in 
my possession), before M. C. MacKennon, Magistrate at Murongo, 
North-Eastern Rhodesia, and dated January,1903. In this afi&davit, 
it is stated that the quantity seized was very much larger than the 
** three bags " allowed by the Katanga Trust. The circumstances 
of the seizure, and the treatment of the unfortunate British native, 
are minutely described in the affidavit. The native was tied up to 
the steamer rail, and was left there for two nights and one day. 
The native, as already explained, was finally handed over to "la 
Justice," at Pueto. Whether he ever escaped from the clutches of 
Congo " justice " does not transpire. 

I have gone into this matter somewhat fully, not because I am 
particularly interested in M. de Mattos personally — although I am 
indebted to him for many of the particulars which enabled me to 
bring the case of the late Herr Rabinek to the knowledge of the world 
— ^but because the treatment to which he has been subjected is a 
pertinent illustration of the outragecrt» methods employed by the 
Congo State's officials and agents. 

It is clear that the extraordinary attitude of our Government 
in tamely submitting that the Congo State territories, which were 
declared open to the trade of all nations, should be closed to the 
enterprise of merchants in the British sphere adjoining that State, 
when the opiening up of those territories to our merchants* enterprise 
would greatly benefit both the British Central Africa Protectorate 
and Northern Rhodesia, does but increase the audacity of the Congo 

D 



^ 



ir 



.50 

State officials, and their defiance <A all law and interaatioaal usage. 
That the British Government in maintaining this attitude is not only 
behaving in an extremely short-sighted manner as regards the material 
interests of the British Protectorates, but is incurring a moral liability 
of increasing extent in respect to the persistent and inevitable ill- 
treatment of the natives, by its tacit recognition of the Congo State's 
assumption of proprietorship over all the produce of the soil in the 
territOTies assigned to it by the Powers, the outrages by Congo native 
soldiery which are the necessary accon^paniment of that system, and 
so on, cannot be doubted. 

In connection with the treatment of the natives in the Katanga 
region, I have received, of late, numerous reports. An agent of the 
African International Flotilla and Transport Company, Limited, 
writes, under date of November, 1902, from Lake Nyassa : — " I am 
unaware from where you have obtained the information contained 
in your articles on the Rabinek case, but they are absolutely true and 
positive facts, and not exaggerated in the slightest degree. Indeed, 
there are very many atrocities and cruelties in the Congo (Free ?) 
State which have not yet come to light, but which I sincerely hope 
and trust will be shown up now, although there arp many which will 
never be shown up. If people at home only knew the disgraceful 
way in which the natives are treated, and the Congo Free State nm, 
the Belgians would be dispossessed of their territory immediately. 
When Rabinek was arrested for no legal reason whatever, the remark 
was made that, if there was no case against him ' one could and 
would be made and proved.' Needless to remark, his fate was known 
immediately he was sent to Boma. While I was stationed at Chienje, 
Lake Mweru, down to April, 1902, 1 had ample opportunities of meet- 
ing the Comite Special du Katanga* s people. I also spoke to Dr. 
Crawford, of the Garanganze Mission, stationed for about two years 
at Luanda, on the west side of the Lake in Congo State territory. I 
spoke to him of the abominable way in which native 'askari' (soldiers!) 
of the Congo State were ari»ed and let loose over the country to the 
curse of all other native men and women — facts which he himself, of 
course, knew to be true ; and told him that, as a missionary, he 
ought really to report and expose, but he was afraid his mission 
would be turned out of the country. ... I have written to 

X , asking him to drop you a line, as he (being an Englishman) 

has also been turned out of the ComUe's country, after a residence 
there of over eight years. He, as you know, came to the country 
for sport, being very wealthy. He is now at ." 



61 

Mere are ejctmctsfrom a letter, tiated LakeT^aiganyika, Febru- 
ary, '1W3, Irom a misstonary, tfee Reverend ^Rkhard B. Smith, who 
travelled and laboured in the Katanga region in 1900 and 1901 : 

"During my stay at Mvoa, I found that the conduct of the 
native soldiery belonging to the Belgians, towards the native popula- 
tion in the district was a disgrace to civilisation ; the people lived 
in a state of terror, caused by the ill-treatment of the soldiers, who 
robbed them and otherwise molested and disturbed their peace/' 
The writer subsequently described the treatment by Congo soldiery 
of one of his own servants, whom he had sent to some villages one 
day's journey from Mvoa to buy food, furnishing him with cloth and 
beads for the purpose. "This man was caught by two soldiers and 
dreadfvdly beaten ; his buttocks and legs were beaten with hippo-hide 
whips imtil the blood came, cartridges were forced into his nostrils 
until they burst, also into his ears and mouth." 

Writing from Abercom in February, 1903, a correspondent 
says: — " The latest news we have of the Belgians in Congo State 
territory is to the effect that they are building a new fort at Uwiri 
(North-and of Lake Tangan3dka), only women being employed in 
its construction. These women are said to be slaves, by a European 
who has visited the fort They have been probably forced into ser- 
vice, or hired somewhere in the interior. They work all day, and at 
night are at the disposal of the soldiers, of whom there are about 400 
in the neighbourhood. These particulars are known to the German 
authorities at Ujiji (East shore of Lake Tanganj^ika)." 

The same correspondent, writing from Karonga (Lake Nyassa), 
at the end of last year, describes how the wretched natives on the 
Congo side steal across Lake Mweru at night in frail canoes, in order 
to sell rubber to native traders in British territory in fear of their 
lives, and knowing what their fate will be if they are discovered 
returning to the Congo State shore with European goods, possession 
of which by a Congo native is regarded as a punishable offence. My 
correspondent also describes the disguises and precautions which 
native traders in British territory have to adopt, if — ^imbued with 
that^commercial instinct for which the African native is conspicuous — 
they brave the perils of entering that internationally free commercial 
land "Which the Act of BerUn intended the territories of the Congo 
State to be, but which, instead, has become a vast preserve for the 
ibeaefit of a clique in Belgium, where none may enter, and where — to 
jise the words of my correspondent as he took ifeem down before two 



52 

European witnesses from the lips of one of these British native 
traders — '' it is always dark ; all conversation and trade is only safe 
at night." 

There are two afl&davits, originals of which I have forwarded 
to His Majesty's Government, all made before European witnesses, 
signed in March, 1903, sealed with the stamp of the British Central 
Africa Protectorate by a British official, Mr. C. T. Caudy, Collector 
at Karonga. 

The first relates to the experiences of native British subjects, 
formerly employed as soldiers by the State, and shows the utter 
incapacity of the Congo State officers to control their soldiers, and 
the abominations which are constantly being committed by the latter. 

The second is the testimony of natives, formerly living in Congo 
State territory, as to the treatment they have received. It shows 
the absolute lawlessness of the Congo soldiery, and the methods of 
raiding practised by their officers. 

" We, John and Johan, natives of Karonga, Lake Nyassa, Irtish 
Central Africa, do hereby declare that about four years ago we were 
engaged by Mr. Mohun to serve him as soldiers for the period of three 
years during his construction of a telegraph line in the Congo Free 
State. 

" On our arrival in the Congo Free State we learnt from the 
inhabitants and the Government soldiers that there is always war 
between the white men, the soldiers, and the natives. 

" The reason of a war and the constant troubles are as follows : — 
Long ago, the Belgian officials hanged the soldiers for their bad be- 
haviour. They hanged so many that this created a vengeance to 
such an extent that all soldiers formed a ring imder the head man, 
at that time the sergeant called Yankoffu ; with the object to kill 
all officers at the different stations on and near the Lake Tangan3aka. 
This they did, and took all the guns and ammunition. They then 
formed a stockade and made Yankoffu their chief. Later on they 
were attacked by a strong force of the Belgians ; also we, under Mr. 

, attacked them ; we killed many people but could not get 

Yankoffu. Most of his people crossed the Lake to German territory, 
taking with them the captured guns and anununition. After this, 
other Belgian officers occupied the plundered stations, but from that 
time the officers became afraid of the soldiers. When we were there, 
one officer of Marabo station, about ten days from Lake Tanganyika, 
thrashed a soldier with a hippo-hide whip. Some time later, the same 
officer received from the same soldier a letter, and when reading the 



53 

same the latter shot him dead. We two, and many other soldiers, 
were given orders to catch the murderer ; we went after him for many 
days but could not find him. The white men are so afraid of the soldiers 
that they let them do whatever they like ; they rape, murder and steal 
everything of the inhabitants, and if the Chief or villagers object they 
are often shot dead on the spot. The officers all know this, but they 
never take any notice of it as they are afraid to punish their soldiers. 
Another ofi&cer, called by the natives Kaputimasinga, died long ago 
at his station, Rivarenga, on the Lake shore of Tanganyika. At 
this station he punished the natives by cutting off their hands, ears, 
etc., etc, or hanged them according to the crime, 

" JOHN." [X— his mark.] 
'' JOHAN." [X— his mark.] 

The above statement was made before me and the following 
witnesses on the thirteenth day of March, 1903, and interpreted by 
the two natives, Timothy Bwana and Alexander Ned. 

C. T. CAUDY, CoUector, Karonga. 
[Witnesses' signatures.] 

Upon request of Mr. Teixeira de Mattos, this statement has been 
interpreted before me at Karonga, British Central Africa, this 
thirteenth day of March, 1903. The two interpreters having first 
carefvdly translated whatever the two men said, I distinctly and 
audibly read over the contents of this statement to the interpreters, 
who declared it to be the correct translation of what the two men said. 

C. T. CAUDY, Collector, Karonga. 
Interpreters — ^Timothy Bwana. 

Alexander Ned. 

" My name is Chewema, and I belong to the Mahusi tribe in the 
Congo Free State. I remember my mother, the people in our viUage, 
but have forgotten its name. I remember well that one day the Arabs 
made war, and I, together with other people, were taken prisoners 
and were sent off to Chiwala's village at the Luapula river. 

*' When my breasts were about the size of my large toe, the 
Belgian soldiers with four white men called Kula-Kula, Chipekaman- 
senga, Kasiera and Kachesa (these are the native names for them only). 
They came from Lukafu and made war with our Chief Chiwala ; many 
people were killed, but the Chief and his wife escaped to the English 
side of the Luapula. I, together with other women and many tusks 
of ivory, were captured. Part of us were sent to M'towa and Sambu, 
and I and many others to Lukafu. The white man Kula-Kula was 
shot by Chepembera, who lives at present in English territory. When 



54 

we were transporUd to Lukafu we were fastened together by a rope roumd 
our necks and at night-time our hands and fed were tied together to- 
prevent us from escaping. At Lukafu the elder w<»iien were forced at 
first by the soldiers to sleep in their huts, until Commandaat Kasiera 
prohibited this* I and three other girls of my age were taken over 
by the Commandant to carry his water and to cultivate his gardens/ 
After one month at Lukafu, I and the three other girls were sent to 
M'pwetu ;* we were tied together the whole way, but on our arrival 
at M'pwetu the white men took off the ropes; I was taken by the 
white man called Lutina as his wife's servant. None of the women 
at M'pwetu were allowed to leave the station ; many, however, 
managed to escape to the English side, also some soldiers were allowed 
to take their women with them when leaving the station, but others 
had to remain whether they had children by them or not. 

" At M'pwetu I witnessed the killing of two natives who had 
stolen rubber from the Government stores. By the order of the white 
man called Lutina, the two natives were beaten by his soldiers with a 
hippo-hide whip ; after this, they were made to stand up ; the soldders 
then threw bricks on ikem tiU they died. 

" One native was tcom Chewerchewera's village, very near 
M'pwetu, and was buried by his relations ; the other, who had no 
relations so near, was thrown into the Lake Mweru. 

'* I have been, two rainy seasons at M'pwetu, till I had the 
opportimity to ^o with another woman to the English ade ; also I 
have been there two rainy seasons ; from there I went to Lake Nyassa, 
where I arrived last month. " CHEWEMA.'' [X — ^her mark.]. 

The above statements were made befor^e me and the following 
witnesses, on the nineteenth day of March, 1908, and interpreted 
by the two natives, Timothy Bwana and Alexander Ned. 

C. T. CAUDY, Collector, Karonga, B.C.A. 
[Witnesses' signa4;ures.] 

Upon request of Mr. Teixeira de Mattos, this statement has been 
interpreted before me at Karonga, British Central Africa, this nine- 
teenth day of March, 1903. The two interpreters having first care- 
fully translated whatever the woman said,. I distinctly and audibly 
read over the contents of this statement to the interprets®, who 
declared it to be the correct translation of what the woman said* 

C. T. CAUDY, Collector, Karonga. 
Interpreters — ^Timothy Bwana. 

Alej^andbr Neb. 

* Piieto. 



1 



55 



CHAPTER VI. 

INo. 2. The liongaUa Trust 

(Societ6 Anversoise du Commerce au Congo). 

The Foundation of the Trust — ^Its Directors and Share- 
holders — Its Profits from 1897 to 1902 — Its Atrocious^ 
History — Events in 1902 and 1903 — ^M. Edgar Canisius, 
AN ex-Official of the Trust, tells the Story of his 
Three Years' Experience. 

• 

''Let us repeat what so many others have said; what has become a 
platitude. The success of the African work is the result of ati autocratic 
fpQvemment, that is to say, the government of a single man, glided by one 
sole idea ; homo unius libri, said the Romans, speaking' of a remarkable 
man. It is the work of a sole directing will, untempered by the control of 
hesitating and timorous politicians, acting on its sole responsibility ; intellig-ent, 
reflecting, conscious of the perils and advantagjes, discounting with admirable 
prescience the great results of a speedy future." — M. A. PoSKiNS, uk the 
Bilans Congolais (Brussels Society Beige de Librarie,' 190X). 

• * 

'' Our only programme, I am anxious to repeat, is the work ot moral 
and material regeneration." — King Leopold. 

THE Soci6t6 Anversoise du Commerce au Congo is the name given 
to the Congo State's Trust in the Mongalla district. The 
AnviTSotse^ as it is usually termed, was founded at Antwerp in August,. 
1802, as a Belgian Company. It was dissolved in January, 1898,* 
and was reconstituted under Cpngo State Law. The Anversoise 
received some 12,000 square mi^^s in the Mongalla region ; in virtue 
of the Decree of 1885, already alluded to in describing the Katanga 
Trust. The locality of the Anversoise's operations is indicated on. 
the accompanying map. The capital of the Anversoise is 1,700,000 
f'rancs, or £68,000, divided into 3,400 " privileged " shares of 500 
Francs, or £20 each ; 25,000 shares of £20 each were subsequently 
created, but apparently very seldom quoted, the speculation to 
which these shares afterwards gave rise being confined to the 
'* privileged " class. 

* M. J. Wauters. LEtat Ind^pendant du Congo. Also Annexe au Bulletin 
Officiel de VEtat Ind^pendant dU Congo de fhmer, 1898, No. 2. 



56 



The head-quarters of the Trust are at Mobeka, and the 
administrative seat is 104 Rempart des B^guines, Antwerp. Its 
President is M. A. de Browne de Ti^e, a banker who has upon several 
occasions lent sums of money to the Sovereign of the Congo State, and 
who is, or was until recently, considered as one of the principal advisers 
of the King in Congo affairs. The administrators of the Trust are 
Baron Gofi&net, Ed. Bunge, and C. de Browne de Ti^ge, and the 
" Commissaire " is Count Emile Le Grelle. Baron Goffinet and 
Count Le Grelle are attached to the Court. Ed. Bunge is the Congo 
State's Broker in Antwerp, and C. de Browne de Tiege is presumably 
a relative of the President t)f the Trust. The principal shareholders 
are : ' 

The Congo State . . . . . . . . 1700 shares. 

M. A. de Browne de Ti^ge . . . . . . 1100 

Bunge & Co. . . . . . . . , . . 100 

E. P. Grisar . . . . . . . , . . 130 

De3niian-Druart . . . . . . . . 100 

The net pr6iits of the Anversoise for the four years 1897-1900 
have been : 

1897 ., Fes. 120,697 



f> 



99 



>> 



>> 



3,968,832 

3,083,976 

84,333 

1,080,247 

8,353,085— £334,123, about five 



>i 



>j 



99 



>J 



f> 



1898 ' . , ,', 

1899 ; . 
1900 

♦1902 

or a total profit in five years of Fes 

times its total declared capital. In June, 1899, its " privileged 
shares of Fes. 500 were quoted at Fes. 13,500 on the Antwerp Stock 
Exchange, showing a total value at that time of Fes. 45,900,000 or 
;f 1,836,000. 

During these five years, the Mongalla Trust's operations have 
been described as one long " carnival of massacre "; and the scandals 
arising therefrom led to stormy debates in the Belgian House of 
Representatives. Some minor agents of the Trust were pimished 
by imprisonment in Boma. The important men were allowed to go 
scot-free, notably Major Lothaire. 

Mr. Edgar Canisius, an American citizen, served a three 
years* engagement with the Trust, ending April, 1901. He 
describes injdetail further on, the system prevailing in the Trust's 
territory ; a system bound, as I have repeatedly emphasised, to lead 



* I have not the figures for 190 1. 



57 

to such results, a part and parcel of the methods of *' moral and 
material regeneration " pursued by the Sovereign of the Congo State. 

As Mr. Edgar Canisius will explain, the Trust, notwithstanding 
the terrible cruelties inflicted upon the unfortunate natives of the 
Mongalla region, had still not been able in 1901, after several years 
bloody repression, to *' break " the tribes — especially the Budjas — 
sufficiently to make them produce rubber in the quantities desired. 
The Trust had, indeed, suffered considerably from the obstinate 
bravery of the Budjas.* Lest it be supposed, however, that the events 
of 1898-1901 have in any way altered the methods of the Trust, I 
give below a summary of such news as has been permitted to transpire 
from the Mongalla district in 1902 and 1903. The particulars for 
1902 are all extracted from the Antwerp newspaper, La Tribune 
Congolaise, a paper devoted to the Congo State, and dealing as its 
name implies, wholly with the affairs of that State. 

February. 

Fighting in the Mongalla district. M. MarduUer, Commissaire for 
^Bangala, captured three of the most important Budja chiefs. In 
the course of the fighting, he captured 450 flint-locks, 50 Albinis, 4 
revolvers, and much ammunition. 

April. 

The three Budja chiefs captured in February were sent to 
Noiivelle Anvefs. One got away, another was hanged, and the 
third exiled. 

May. 

The imprisoned men Lacroix, Mattheys, and Moray pass their 
time in stitching blue trousers for the troops. The rumour that 
Mattheys will be set at liberty continues. 

The Mongalla district is quiet. The paramount Budja chief 
Eseko, condemned to transportation, is at Banana ; two more chiefs 
are shut up in the prison of Nouvelle Anvers. 

[It may be here explained that Lacroix, Matthej^ and Moray 
were three of the subordinate agents condemned to imprisonment 
for participation in the atrocities of 1900 and 1901. These men 
publicly confessed their deeds, and in any other country would have 
been shot out of hand. As, however, they were only the servants 
of the system, it was no doubt considered inexpedient to shoot them.] 

* The Trust's outlook appears, however, to have improved of late. 



58 

June. 

As we announced last month, the pardon of lilattheys is hoped 
for. Perhaps the pardon of Lacroix and Moray will follow. .... 
Since Moray's evasion — and recapture — the prisoners are submitted 
to a very severe regime. Formerly it was very easy to see them. 
Now difficulties are raised, and they can only be seen for a few 
minutes on Sunday mornings. The Director of the prison is allowed 
3 francs 75 cents per day for feeding each prisoner. Their dinner 
includes a plate of soup, a plate of meat and fresh vegetables. In 
the evening they have another plate of soup, and a plate of meat. 
On Sunday they are entitled to a glass of wine. 

October. 
A partial uprising has taken place in the Bangala district. 

May, 1903. 

The Belgian papers announce that " complaints have been 
received from natives in the Mongalla district, that a white agent 
has murdered many people and burned several villages." An enquiry 
proved that the complaints were true, and the culprit has been sent 
to Boma for trials — ^another sub-agent, presumably. 



At the annual meeting of the Trust held in June of this year, 
the President dedared that the " Company's work now proceeds on 
normal lines, and it i» very prosperous." He added that the dis*- 
cussion in the House of Commons did not trouble him in the least . . . 

June, 

In its issue of June 25th, La Tribune Congolcrise published the 
following from its Boma Correspondent: "An agent of the 
Company is awaited at Boma to answer for * exactions and faits 
d'armes* in the Mongalla district." 



We will now let Mr. Canisius speak for himself. 

♦Having completed my three years' contract with the Congo 
administration, I returned to Europe early in 1899 on leave (without 
pay), and the same year entered the employ of the SociStS Anversoise 
du Commerce au Congo, at that time the most important of the 
Concessionary Companies. The territory conceded to the company 
by the State, which, in return, received one-half of its shares, includes. 



* Reproduced from the Wes^ A/Ncuh Mail, 



the whtde oi the basin of the Mcmgalla river, a^ stream of imposing 
size and navigable for a distance of several hundred miles by steamers 
of 20 to 30 tons bmrden. 

The headquarters of the Company are at Mobeka, a station 
built at the mouth of the Mongalla, in a very swampy country, as, 
indeed, is characteristic of the whole of this stream, and of most of 
the other rivers in the Congo basin. 

At this place I received verbal orders from Major Lothaire, the 
manager, to proceed to N'Dobo, a station in the eastern part of 
the concession and situated upon the north bank of the main river. 

In this part of its course the mighty Congo assimies most mag- 
nificent proportions and is said to be fully twenty miles wide. I 
am inclined to believe it, for I have at this point crossed in a large 
canoe, with thirty paddlers, and going at a fair speed, occupied six 
hours in its traversal. Its placid surface is dotted with thousands 
of verdure-covered islands, most of which are inimdated at high 
water, and are often many miles in length but seldom of great breadth, 
and are the haunts of the fishing tribes who fly to them in time of 
danger. 

At N'Dobo I was forced to remain for some time on account 
of the revolt of the fierce Budja tribe, in whose territory it was 
intended that I should establish a post. These people inhabit the 
interior to the north of N'Dobo, and I was destined later on to make 
their closer and^far from agreeable acquaintance. 

While awaiting developments at N'Dobo, I had an excelleut 
opportunity of witnessing the system employed by the Company's 
agents in that part of the concession which, in size, almost equals 
Belgium. 

Between the Budja country and the river, which is the habitat of 
a race of semi-nomadic fishermen, called Bapoto, there is a tribe 
called by the natives Gomb^s, who are less warlike than the Budja 
and therefore, submitted more quickly to the rnhher regime. These 
people possessed in the rear of the station of N'Dobo, a number of 
rather insignificant villages, and were subject to the rule of the 
Company's agent at that place* 

Once in a fortnight, these Gomb6s were obliged to bring rubber 
to the post. Each of the villages was under the surveillance of a 
** capita " or headman, sent by the post manager, whose duty it was 
to see that the natives gathered the rubber in time, and in proper 
quantity. 



60 

At the time appointed, the post manager notified the " capitas" 
to bring in the rubber gathered by the villagers under their control, 
and in due course they arrived at the station, each man carrying a 
small basket made of rattan, furnished by the white agent, in order 
that no native could make a mistake as to the quantity he must 
furnish. 

When all the villagers had arrived at the station, they took 
up their positions in rows, and the post manager then settled down 
to business, assisted by the Company's ** soldiers,'* a number of 
whom were stationed at every post. Each villager was in turn ranged 
up before him, every man with his basket before him. Each native 
wore, attached to a cord around his neck, a small disc made of the 
zinc lining of packing cases. These discs each had a number stamped 
upon it, and in a book which the manager had before him were 
inscribed the names of the natives against the number upon their 
" tags." One by one, the half-frightened bushmen were called up 
and made to present their baskets to the white man, a proceeding 
frequently assisted by a cuff from one of the soldiers. If the quantity 
of rubber was satisfactory, the native — who had worked many days 
to produce it — ^was paid what the agent thought the proper amount 
in " mitakos," pieces of brass wire, six to eight inches long. These 
*' mitakos *' — a currency forced upon the natives by the Congo 
Government and the Belgian traders — ^were no longer valued by the 
natives in any part of the country, for they had already accumulated 
vast quantities, and, as the Belgians in most places would not accept 
them in exchange for other goods, they were practically of no value. 
However, the natives accepted the brass rods without demur, and 
with the utmost indifference, as though they knew they would be 
obliged to furnish the rubber whether they were paid or not. 

If, on the other hand, a native had only a small quantity of 
rubber in his basket, he was taken aside by one of the soldiers, and, 
after all had been called up, was severely castigated with the fearful 
whip made of hippopotamus hide, and called the chicoUe, and with 
which the natives, in all parts of the Congo, are so familiar. During 
my term of service under the State, I had seen men, women and child- 
ren flogged with this instrument of torture, even to death, and the 
flogging of twenty or thirty natives at N'Dobo did not affect me as 
it wdtflS have a new-comer. Shrieks for mercy such as resounded 
through the post on this occasion, are heard from Lake Tanganyika 
to Banana, from the Uelle to Lake Moero, and are most familiar 
sounds in the Congo. 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 



French 




^rit/sysj *" I 



The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Mongalla Trust. 



«2 

When all the villagers had deposited their quotas of rubber, the 
manager had a thousand pounds, or more, whidh I estimated cost 
ium at the sate of about one penny per pound. As this rubber *^¥a5 
worth over three shillings per pound in the Antwerp market, it is 
safe to assume that the Company made a very considerable profit 
on it, even after pa3ang heavy transport charges and a high export 

In this part of the concession the natives employ a different 
system of coagulating the latex than in the eastern portion. When 
they have collected the desired quantity of sap they smear it on 
their skins, working it the while with their hands. In this manner 
the Hquid rapidly evaporates and the gum gradually thickens into a 
small ball, which is increased in size until it reaches the proportions 
of a large walnut. These balls are then strung together by simply 
sticking one against the other until they form a long string, and in 
this form they are taken to the Company's post. Should a chief 
fail, or refuse to furnish rubber, he is promptly brought in by the 
" capita " stationed at his village — aided, if necessary, by the Com- 
pany's soldiers — and receives a severe flogging, and, perhaps, a month 
in the chains. In all of the Company's posts, as well as in those t)f 
the State, .there are constantly large numbers of native chiefs in the 
chain-gangs for failing to furnish either rubber or some other corvee 
demanded by the white man. 

After a sojourn of eight months in the Budja country, at the 
end of which time the Company's agents were driven out of it with 
great loss in men and prestige, I was transferred to a post on the 
Mongalla river, called Akula. This station is situated on the south 
bank of the river, and is surrounded on three sides by swamp and the 
usual jungle. The houses are built upon what is practically an island, 
raised from the swamp by the unremitting and unrecompensed 
labour of hundreds of native women, who are forced by the Company's 
agents to perform this work, in spite of their pitiful appeals to be 
allowed time to attend to their own work, as many were starving 
through being forced to neglect it. 

In this region, again, I found a different system of '* gathering " 
the rubber in vogue. Instead of "tagging" every adult male in 
his district, the post manager sent into each group of villages a 
" capita-chief " whose duty it was to see that those villages produced 
in proper quantity. The capita-chief in turn collected about him a 
band of men who were inscribed in the books of the station as labourers, 
but whose only work, as far as I could see, was to bully and pillage 



the ^dllajgers. These jcapita'Chiefs, at the time of my arrival in the 
Mongalla, were armed with Albinixifles, belonging to the Congo Gov- 
ernment, and their bands were provided with percussion muskets 
of the usual " gas-pipe " order. The post manager furnished powder, 
caps, cartridges, and bullets to these men whenever they asked for 
them, which appeared to me to be rather frequently. Thus every 
little group of villages had billeted upon it a gang of cut- throats who 
ranged through the country killing, ravishing and pillaging to their 
heart's content. So terrible became their exactions that the natives 
finally abandoned their plsmtations, from the cultivation of which 
they received no benefit, and many took to the bush, where they lived 
upon roots and insects. Many of them starved to death. I have 
myself seen, when on remote jungle-paths, their putrefying corpses 
lying where they had fallen exhausted by hunger. For several years 
the Company, aided and encouraged by the ** State," had instituted 
cme continuous carnival of massacre and oppression. One of its oldest 
agents, to whom I suggested that fully ten thousand natives had 
been done to death in one way or another in the Mongalla country, 
laughingly tdd me that double that munber would be nearer the 
mark ! 

In this part of the concession the natives coagulate the latex 
by pouring it into an earthem pot whidbi contains boiling water, 
and which enables them to skim off any impurities. The mixture is 
then gradually evaporated over a fire and the rubber forms into a 
kind of " pancake " upon the bottom of the pot. It is taken in this 
condition to the post, and there cut into long strips, which in the 
market are known as *' Mongalla lanieres." As these strips are 
carefully hung on battens in a shed to dry for three months, and aU 
adulterated pieces thoroughly sorted out, the quality is very good 
and brings a correspondingly high price. 




64 

Further Details elicited from M. Canisius in reply to 

specific questions put by the editor * 

QUESTION I. 

What is the modus operandi adopted when the foundation of- a new post 
or rubber station has been decided upon ? 



When it has been decided to form a new post, a location is gener- 
ally selected in the neighbourhood of a number of villages, having a 
sufficient population to properly perform the innumerable corvees 
sure to be demanded of them, such as supplying food (the price of 
which is fixed by the post manager) ; providing paddlers or carriers 
for the transport ; furnishing poles and thatch for the post buildings, 
and labourers to perform the work of constructing the post ; making 
baskets in which to ship the rubber, and supplying the rattan needed 
for the purpose, and other services too numerous to mention. Lat- 
terly, the Mongalla Company, in conformity to a regulation issued by 
the Government at Boma, attempted to make extensive plantations 
of rubber- vines and this task was also imposed upon the natives of 
the near-by villages. In most cases the villages thus taxed are not 
compelled to collect rubber, although this depends much upon the 
post manager's sense of justice, which in the ciase of a Belgian seems 
but slightly developed. When an agent is sent out to form a new 
post he is generally accompanied by his Chef de Zone (for in every- 
thing of this nature the Concessionnaire Cpmpaniies imitate the 
State — ^in fact, they form a State within a State), and a barid of armed 
'* labourers" or soldiers who serve the dotible purpose of assisting 
the work and overawing the villagers. As soon as the post-manager, 
who is to reside at the new '* factory," is thoroughly settled down, 
the native villages in the region to be worked by hini are visited, 
and each chief made to distinctly understand the quantity of rubber 
he must bring in each month. ''Capitas" are then left with the chiefs 
to enforce this order. Thereafter, they have no peace. They cannot 
call their property their own, nor are their lives for a moment safe. 
When they begin to tire of this and fall short in their supply of rubber, 
the bloodhounds of the Company are set upon them, and they are 
forced, by the slaughter which immediately begins, to once more 
resimie their weary task. 

* The questioos were originally put at much greater length. The substance 
IS here given. The replies are according to M Canisius' manuscript, in the 
Editor's possession. 



65 



QUESTION II. 
Is there emigration from the Mongolia territory to French territory ? 



There is no emigration that I ever heard of from the Mongalla 
basin into French Congo, although along the Congo generally, where 
the French bank adjoins the Belgian, the natives have crossed over 
in thousands. Great numbers of the Bateke and Baianzi have gone 
over to French territory, and I understand the same thing has occurred 
to a large extent in the Ubangi. The natives in the Mongalla Con- 
cession do not know of the existence of the French. They know 
Bida Matari (the native name for the Congo State) only. 

QUESTION III. 
Does the Concessionnaire Company raise its own soldiers ? 



The soldiers of the Company, as already explained, are in the 
first place engaged as labourers, and the best of them are then armed 
and drilled, and wear the uniform provided by the Company, which 
differs entirely from the State uniform. When I was in the Mongalla, 
there were many State soldiers detached for service with the Company, 
but at the time of the Moray affair these were withdrawn, as were 
also the State's Albinis, which were replaced by others belonging 
to the Company. 

QUESTION IV. 

Is the *' tag " system in general use, to your knowledge ? 

The only place where I saw the *' tag " system in use was at 
N'Dobo, where the Company was attempting to force it upon the 
Budjas, with disastrous results. 

QUESTION V. 

Do"[you consider the estimate given you by the Congo State official as to 
the number of people killed by the Company exaggerated ? Why 
do not the natives leave the district ? 



I am inclined to think the population of the Mongalla, as well 
as the Equateur district, has been considerably thinned by the 
rubber regime. The estimate made by the Company's oldest agent, 

B 



66 

who was, indeed, one of the first white men in the Mongolia region 
(under the State and before the Company was estabUshed), may be 
an exaggeration, to which the Belgians are certainly much given, 
but I am quite convinced that thousands have been killed. As 
explained in my answer to Question 2, the natives cannot emigrate, 
and even did they attempt to leave they would be promptly stopped 
by the State, as they would have a considerable stretch of land 
inhabited by hostile tribes to traverse. The people on the river 
banks opposite the French territory could quietly pass across, and not 
be discovered ; this the Mongalla tribes cannot do. 

QUESTION VI. 

Can you give further particulars with regard to the '* mitakos *' system 
and say what kind and quantity of merchandise the Company 
imports ? 



In some posts of the State and the Companies, magasins d*echange 
have been established, but the amount of '* mitakos'* to be accepted 
rests entirely with the agent in charge. In the part of the Mongalla 
where I was, the " mitakos " were not taken in exchange for mer- 
chandise* In most places the natives do not want the " mitakos,"^ 
but are obliged to take them or nothing. The *' mitakos " are 
certainly a non-recognised currency, for no independent trader on 
the coast will accept them, nor will the Congo State take them in 
payment of taxes or anything else from a white man. The quantity 
of merchandise imported by the Company is not great in proportion 
to the amount of rubber exported and consists largely of brass wire 
for making '' mitakos," which vary in length at nearly every station. 
The soldiers are paid in cloth in some parts of the Congo; in others 
they receive coin, which they immediately exchange for cloth. 

QUESTION VII. 

When the women are forced to labour, what becomes of the children ? 



Young children are carried by their mothers when working, or 
left in the villages. Older girls work with their mothers, while boys 
are compelled to collect rubber, or perform other services mentioned 
in answer to Question 3. 



67 

QUESTION VIII. 

People at home have difficulty in understanding how natives can die of 
starvation in the hush, however oppressed. The idea seems to he 
that the forests contain edibles in plenty which the native can obtain 
without trouble. What are the usual sources of native food-supply ? 



The natives obtain food from three sources, but not often all 
three at the same time. First, many of the numerous creeks and 
rivers contain fish, which is an important item of consumption. 
Second, the natives are generally hunters and obtain, though seldom, 
big game. Third, with the exception of some of the nomadic fishing 
tribes, they cultivate plantations, but only in a desultory manner, 
for they never feel sufficiently safe in their possession to expend 
much labour on them. The jungle affords but little that can help 
them, and it is only since they have been driven into it by the Bel- 
gians that they have, to any extent, relied upon this source. When 
they are subject to constant raids by the State and Company, those 
living in places dependent upon plantations for sustenance, abandon 
these, and, naturally, cannot find enough in the bush to feed upon. 
This was the case among the Mogwandis, some of whom I mentioned 
as having been seen by me lying in the jimgle, dead of starvation. 

QUESTION IX. 

The Congo State always takes credit for punishing agents guilty of 
atrocities. What is your opinion on this point ? 



As far as I am aware, the only agents ever punished for the 
outrages upon the natives have been mere subordinates — corporals, 
clerks, or Company agents. No high official or Belgian army officer 
has ever seen the Inside of the prison of Boma. The unfortunate, 
ignorant persons who have been punished were merely trying to carry 
out the wishes of their superiors, who are not ever rebuked. All the 
Congolese agents of both State and Company perfectly understood 
that the condenmation of the men who were punished was a mere farce 
to blind the eyes of the civilized world, and none of them were 
expected to cerve their time. Indeed, had they done so, it would 
have meant, in cases where the punishments were penal servitude 
for a number of years, certain death. The opinion generally ex- 
pressed was, that the State would wait until the stir which the story 
of the atrocities made in Europe had blown over, and then let the 



68 

men escape or have them pardoned by the Sovereign. These men 
were the temporary scapegoats which it was necessary for the State 
to find. The authorities do not want to hear accusations against 
agents, but when such are made public, something must be done 
to make Europe think that justice does exist for the native after all. 
This justice is done most unwillingly and as seldom as possible. 

While at Boma, on my way to the Mongalla, I attended at the 
Court there, and saw a Commissaire de District, in uniform resplen- 
dent with many bands of gold lace, being tried on a charge of murder, 
in having kicked his ** boy '* to death. The court was composed of 
three young Belgian lawyers : the judge, registrar and greffier. No 
other persons were present, save a Bangala interpreter and half a 
dozen Bangala witnesses. The judge was busy asking questions 
of all of them and seemed to be in himself a legal jack-of- all- trades. 
These legal luminaries, I knew, were good and true friends of this 
gold-laced official, and they had, no doubt, drunk many a glass of 
absinthe and lambric together. Needless to say the Commissaire 
was acquitted — ^at least no one ever saw him in the Boma prison. 

It is hard to get news out of the Congo, and when it does come 
out it is, as a rule, unreliable ; moreover, few Belgians would dare to 
boldly denounce the State, for, as you know, Belgium is not free 
soil, and fear of the power of the rubber clique is enough to deter 
any of the returned employees from speaking, and, of course, the army 
officers are more helpless still, for the slightest breath against the 
administration would have consequences too serious to contemplate. 
The Belgian officers are dependent upon the pittance they earn as 
such, and cannot afford to quarrel with the hand that gives them 
their bread. 




1 



69 



CHAPTER VIL 

No. 3. The Lopori-Iiaringa Trust 

(Abir.) 

The Abir, " Queen '* of the Congo Trusts — Its Administrators, 
Shareholders, and Colossal Profits — How are the 
Profits Obtained ? — ^A French Colonial Governor's 
Opinion of its Methods — ^Belgian Revelations — Dr. 
Grattan Guinness's Information — More " Moral and 
Material Regeneration.'* 

No matter what has been said, this prosperity has not been attained by any 
detriment to the lot of the Natives.— Bw/Z^/^'n OfficUl de VEtat IniUpendant du 
Congo, June, 1903. 

THE Ahir Trust has been called the " Queen " of the Congo Com- 
panies. Originally the Anglo-Belgian India- Rubber Company, 
foimded in August, 1892, and in which Colonel North was at one time 
largely interested, it was, like the AnversoisCy reconstructed under 
Congo law in 1898 with a capital of 1,000,000 francs, divided into 
2,000 shares without designation of value, *' giving right of aooo of the 
Avoir Social.'* ^This Trust has the monopoly of exploitation of the 
Lopori and Maringa districts ; head-quarters, Bassankusu. The 
sphere of its operations is shown in the map. President, A. Van 
den Nest ; administrators, A. Mols and Count H. Van der Burgh ; 
Commissaires, Jules Stappers and F. Reiss ; director, Charles de Wael. 

Original Shareholders : ♦ 

Alex, de Browne de Ti^ge, as mandatory of the Congo State 1000 

Alex, de Browne de Ti^ge . . . . . . . . . . 60 

Horach van der Burgh 58 

As mandatory of A. Van den Nest 125 

Charles de Wael 6 

As mandatory of M. M. Alexis Mols, Alfred Oster- 
ricte, Maurice Ortmans, Thys & Vanderlin 

Ernest VanderUnden, Henri Vanderlinden . . 75 



Abir Statuts ; Imprimerie Ratinckx Freres, Antwerp. 



70 



Jules Stappers 




• • 




5 


Frederic Reiss 




• • 




3 


Alphonse Lambrechts 




• • 




40 


C. de Browne de Tihge 




• • 




50 


Bunge & Co. . . 




• « 




50 


W. Mallinckrodt 




• • 




45 


Bouvoisin-Deprez 




J' 
• • 




5 


Lowet .... 




• • 




5 


Ruys & Co. . . 




• • 




2 


Francois Grell and Prosper Creitz . . 


• • 




3 


Soci^t^ Anversoise du Commerce au 


Congo 




150 


J. van Stappers 


» • • • 


• • 




10 


L. & W. Vandevelde . . 


• • • 


• • 




5 




Profits : 






1897 


• • • • 


• • 


Fes. 1,247,455 


1898 






„ 2,482,697 


1899 






„ 2,692,063 


1900 






„ *4,718,575 


1901 






„ 2,455,182 


1902 




1 


„ 1,472,000 



In six years the profits of this concern have, therefore, amounted 
to the colossal sum of Fes. 15,067,972, or £602,718. In June, 1899, 
each share was worth Fes. 17,900, and the total value of the 2000 
shares originally worth £40,000, was Fes. 35,800,000, or £1,432,000 ! 
But the shares in 1900 went to over Fes. 25,000, and the total value 
of the 2000 shares originally worth £40,000, was over £2,000,000 ! 

It will thus be seen that the share of the profits, substantial as they 
have been, accruing to the Congo State from the operations of this 
Trust, does not exhaust the State's benefits under the arrangement. 
In 1900 the State's 1,000 shares in the Abir were worth one million 
pounds sterling. What fortunes may not have been amassed through 
Stock Exchange speculation by the possessor of 1000 shares in this 
undertaking ! 

Needless to remark the usual incidents have accompanied the 
acquisition of these profits. 

M. de Lamothe, an ex-Governor of French Congo, in the course 
of^his evidence, given a couple of years ago before the Commission 
of Colonial Concessions, held in Paris, remarked in the course of 
his deposition, that : The Abir, for instance, possess a considerable 



The figures for 1900 are given by Mr. Fox-Boume in his book. 




71 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 






Lado 
enc/aM 




5 



^Vitis/i 



The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Lopori-Maringa Trust. 



72 

territory, and has even police rights (sic) over the natives. From 
that point of view the rights which its charter confers upon it are 
exaggerated. Its agents have applied this so well that they have suc- 
ceeded in inducing 30,000 natives to leave their territory y and take 
refuge on the French hank of the Congo, 

In October, 1901* the Actualite financikre of Brussels, published 
an article of which the following are extracts : 

** The Abir is a Company in which many big-wigs were, or are 
interested . . . The enormous quantities of rubber sold on its 
account, and on account of the Anversoise caused astonishment, but 
people thought that the territories conceded were very rich, and that 
the Companies having received — from all-powerful sources — certain 
privileges and advantages, all was well/' The paper — a Belgian 
paper, may it be repeated ? — then went on to refer to the scandals 
attending the Anversoise operations, speaking of the crimes 
•ommitted on behalf of the shareholders "as exceeding in horror 
and cruelty anything that can be imagined." 

L* Actualite financi^e then proceeded to disclose the fact that 
" three months ago," reports *' giving absolutely precise details " 
had been furnished to the Council of Administration of the Abir, as 
to the atrocities taking place upon its concession. U Actualite 
financiere reproduced some of them. 

1. — A sub-agent of the Abir ordered a native who had not made 
enough rubber to receive fifty blows of the chicotte. After the 
punishment the agent pulled out his revolver and shot the man, 
breaking his shin-bone. 

2. — ^The head of a factory, dismissed for brutality towards the 
natives, had tied up for a whole day several rubber collectors, in a 
state of nudity, to stakes, in the full glare of the sun. 

3. — In September, 1899, all the Upper Bolombo region was put 
to fire and sword, by the Dikila factory, to force the natives, with 
whom the Company had not yet come in contact, to make rubber. 

4. — On 24th August, 1900, passing by Boyela (in the Abir con- 
cession), I met in the said village two young girls, one of whom was 
enceinte y with their right hands cut off. They told me that they 
belonged to the village of Bossombo, and that the soldiers of the 
white-man of Boyela had cut off their hands, because their master 
did not make enough rubber. 

* Referred to shortly in the Times and other papers. 




73 

Stirred by the publicity given to these reports, the Company, 
or the State — there is not much difference — ordered an enquiry, 
and the Belgian papers announced last year, with complacency, that 
Judge Rossi had looked into the-charges which he had found " much 
exaggerated *' — ^naturally ! The worthy Judge did more. The Bel- 
gian papers of October, 1902, reported him to have said that the 
** English Missionaries were inciting the natives to complain !" 

In the early part of this year. La Tribune Congolaise published 
a letter from a correspondent to the effect that the Ahir, post of 
Bogandanga, was producing large quantities of rubber — doing 
splendidly in short. This was quite easy to understand, for about 
the same time, Dr. Grattan Guinness, whose mission — the Congo 
Bololo Mission — has a station at Bogandanga, received a letter written 
by one of his representatives, reading as follows : 

" The Trading Company have now a different system in order 
to get rubber. Ten soldiers, with rifles, are apportioned to Simgam- 
boyo ; ten also to Banlongo, two to Boseke, Ilinga, Lumala, Boyela, 
and Bavaka respectively. This means, as you understand, that the 
country is in the hands of these merciless fellows, who abuse, oppress, 
rob, and kill at their pleasure. M. L. who is here . . told me that 
he was only producing five and a half tons per month, and that 
although M . . . had promised him another agent, he writes now 
that he cannot do so unless seven and a half tons are forthcoming 
per month. This is impossible, as every available man is working 
rubber, and that with a gun behind him. The laws that appeared 
to come into force just before you left here are now considered nil, 
and we have the terrors of the gun; the wretched prison life and work ; 
the chicotte ; the chain ; the transport down river ; and other 
offshoots of oppression too numerous to mention. The place is greatly 
changed. They have made a new line of towns, but the houses are 
scattered and poor. The people are tyrannized over by the sentries, 
and therefore, spend most of their time in the bush.'* 

This letter was incorporated in a long article published by Dr. 
Grattan Guinness, last April, in the Regions Beyond, which was 
reproduced in full in the West African Mail, of April 17th. 

'' The moral and material regeneration of the natives'' in the 
territories conceded to the Ahir Trust, half of whose shares are held 
by the Congo State, is proceeding right merrily : so merrily, indeed, 
that the prospects were declared by its President at the annual 
meeting the other day to be *' brilliant." And the slave-drivers 
sit at home and pocket the dividends. 






74 



CHAPTER VIII. 

No. 4. The Ka^ai Trust. 

The History of the Kasai Trust — The '' Free Trade '* of 
THE Kasai — The Formation of the Trust — ^The Con- 
stitution OF THE Trust — Belgian View of the Trust — 
The Kasai Atrocities — Where the Profits come in. 



«( 



Men . . . are slow to understand that it may be a sentiment that 
induced King- Leopold II. to father the International Association. He is a 
dreamer^ lil^e his confreres in the work, because the sentiment is applied to 
neg-lected millions of the Dark Continent. They cannot appreciate rig-htly, 
BECAUSE THERE ARE NO DIVIDENDS ATTACHING TO IT, this 
restless, ardent, vivifying', and expansive sentiment which seeks to extend 
civilising influences among the dark races." — Sir H. M. Stanley, at the 
London Chamber of Commerce, September 19th, 1884. 

" The Kasai Trust is controlled by the Congo State, and benefits by State 
rates of transport, ocean and fluvial. THE NUMBER OF DIVIDEND- 
PAYING SHARES IS 4,020, OF WHICH THE STATE HOLDS 2,010." 

"The cargo brought by the last steamer, the * Philippeville,' brings the 
amount received up to the present by the Kasai Company, to 330,000 kilos. 
The rubber collected is of two kinds. One fetches 9 Fes. 10 c. per kilo., the 
other 7 Fes. 75 c. per kilo. The sales have produced TWO MILLION- 
AND-A-HALF francs (;C9o>ooo), without counting 50,000 Fes. worth of 
ivory. At the last sale, the Company's rubber imports fetched nearly 
HALF A million FRANCS (i;2o,ooo). The total rubber collected during 
the year ending December 31st, is estimated at FIVE HUNDRED AND 
SIXTY-FIVE TONS. From the above an opinion can be formed of the 
importance of this Company's operations." — La Chroniquey of Brussels (May, 

»903)- 

"Our only programme, I am anxious to repeat, is the work of moral 
and material regeneration " — King Leopold II., Sovereign of the Congo 
State. 

At a meeting held at the Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall, on 
May 5th, presided over by the Rev. Dr. Clifford, M.A., LL.D., and supported, 
amongst others, by the Right Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke, Bart., M.P.; Sir 
W. Brampton Gurdon, M.P., K.C.M.G.; Thomas Bayley, M.P.; Alfred Emmott, 
M.P., and Herbert Samuel, M.P.; .the Rev. W. M. Morrison, of the American 
Presbyterian Mission, recounted his personal experience of the barbarous 
and ghastly methods of the Congo State Authorities, their cannibal regulars 
and irregulars in the Kasai district. 



^ 



75 

UP to January of last year, the Kasai district was — nominally, 
at any rate — open to free trade. 

When, in 1891 and 1892, through the medium of decrees, and 
circulars to the District Commissioners, the Sovereign of the Congo 
State claimed as State property the products of the soil throughout 
the territories above Leopold ville — that is to say, in 99-lOOths of 
the State — entrusted to his management by the Powers, in order 
that commerce should be promoted and the lives and property of 
the natives safeguarded, the Kasai region was exempt from the appli- 
cation of the new rules. It was left open — on paper — to free trade ; 
or, in other words, the Sovereign of the Congo State graciously con- 
sented to permit the exercise of legitimate commerce in one portion 
of the vast area in which he was pledged to encourage, in every 
possible way, the development and increase of trade. 

This condescension was in due course taken advantage of by a 
number of Belgian and Dutch Trading Companies, which established 
factories in the country. But they soon found that their business 
was seriously impeded by the Administration, which, wherever its 
power could make itself felt, compelled the natives to bring in 
the usual taxes, which it levies upon all natives throughout 
the Congo State territories, in accordance with the policy it has 
always pursued. The natives were required to bring in rubber 
to the State posts as tribute, before bartering that article against 
European goods imported by the merchants. The officials of the 
Administration pretended, in effect, to have a prior claim upon 
the rubber - producing capacities of the native ; and as the 
State's rule is absolute, and as its will is enforced by methods 
known as " regenerating ** both of the ** moral and material " order, 
the natives of the Kasai district found that it was liot compatible 
with their comfort to disobey the " Government's *' instructions. 
The Trading Companies complained. Their complaints appeared 
in the Belgian papers. Their transactions became restricted to such 
small quantities of rubber as they could obtain, rubber and ivory 
being the only products exportable from the country. For these 
small quantities they competed keenly. The upshot of it was that 
they were imable to make both ends meet. 

That was the opportunity of the Sovereign of the Congo State, 
who, as we are told by M. Wauters, is the personal director of the 
Congo State. A Trust, called the Kasai Company was formed. 
Four thousand and twenty dividend-paying shares were formed. 



76 



of which 2,010 were retained by the Congo State, and the balance 
divided between the Companies trading in the Kasai. 

The Shares were distributed as follows : — 

Congo State 

Soci6t6 Anonyme Beige du Haut Congo 

Neuwe Handels Vennootschap 

Soci6t6 des Produits V6g6taux du Haut Kasai 

Ci6, Anversoise des Produits du Lub^fu 

Plantations Lacourt 

La Belgika 



Comptoir Velde . . 

La Kassaienne . . 

La Djuma 

L'Est du Kwango 

La Loanje 

Central Africaine 

Ci6. des Magasins G^neraux 

Trafic Congolais . . 



2010 
340 
340 
255 
217 
204 
199 
77 
75 
74 
62 
58 
55 
31 
23 



The Belgian Press — ^let this fact be noted by those whom it 
may concern — ^was not pleased. Even La Gazette Coloniale, the lead- 
ing Congolese paper in Antwerp, was anything but enthusiastic. I 
extract from an issue of that paper in January, 1902, some comments 
which are of particular value at the present time. La Gazette 
Coloniale has, by the way, recently changed its name — and, possibly, 
its opinions. These, at any rate, were its opinions in January, 
1902 : — *' What appears to characterise the policy of the Congo 
State to-day, is not a struggle* against the Trading Companies such 
as took place in 1892, but their absorption by the Congo State 
Government." 

La Gazette Coloniale thereupon referred to ihQAUr and Anversoise 
" Companies,'* half of the profits of which, it said, were shared by the 
State ; and to the Societe Generate Africaine, as to which, it said, a 
similar state of affairs existed. La Gazette Coloniale continued : — 
** Last year, against its will, the Soci6t6 du Haut Congo (one of the 
Thys group) was compelled to abandon to the State the posts which 
it had established at great expense in the Bussira region, and from 
which it anticipated large profits. In the Kasai the State has vir- 
tually absorbed the fourteen Companies which previously existed, 
leaving them only a purely nominal autonomy." 



* This refers, of course, to the celebrated lutle hom^rique between King- 
Leopold II. and Colonel Thys (in 1892), who objected to the claim set up by 
the Sovereign of the Congo State to the entire products of the soil. 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 



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The shaded portion indicates the area of 
The Kasai Trust. 



^ 



78 

Referring to the newly-formed Kasai Company as a " huge 
trust," La GazeUe Coloniale then went on : — " There will soon be in 
the Congo nothing but vast organisations, placed under the direction 
and control of the Government. Private initiative will disappear. 
. . . . to employ an expression which appears accurate under the 
circumstances, the Congo State will soon be nothing more than a 
vast farm, exploited, either directly or for joint account, by a few 
officials. The interests of Belgian trade have nothing to gain by 
such a state of affairs. . . . The Domaine Prive will probably 
increase its rubber production. But save for a few rare shareholders 
holding ' parts,' the Congo State will become, in the eyes of the 
majority of the Belgians, a Colony more and more foreign to them." 

Having thus described the way in which the Kasai Trust was 
formed, and incorporated into the Domaine Prive, which now covers 
the whole of the Upper Congo (see map), we may turn to the revealed 
atrocities which have taken place as a consequence of the system of 
*' moral and material regeneration," so dear to the heart of the 
Sovereign of the Congo State, who, it will be remembered, scorned 
the very idea of ** dividends " in any shape or form. 

In April, 1902, shortly after a ''rising" in the Kasai district 
had been reported in the Belgian newspapers, the London corres- 
pondence of the Manchester Guardian contained the following passage : 
" The trouble originated with the brutal treatment inflicted upon the 
natives by a certain lieutenant of the Force Publique, who, to punish 
them for not bringing in food at the precise hours required, raided 
a village at the head of his cannibal troops and killed and impri- 
soned a number of its inhabitants. A trader who went up the Kasai 
river shortly afterwards as far as Benna Makemia, observed some 
thirty women in chains and practically starving, guarded by State 
troops. He says of their appearance that the thighs of the stoutest 
were hardly larger than a champagne bottle in circumference. This 
trader, who was a Belgian, was subsequently driven away by the 
natives of the district with showers of arrows. At the time the 
mail left the Congo, the whole Kasai district was described as up." 

Writing to me at the end of 1901, a correspondent in Brussels, 
well acquainted with the Congo State affairs, said : "In course of 
conversation with an intimate Belgian friend of mine the other day, 
who has just returned from the Kasai, he declared that smoked human 
flesh was still sold and bartered for in some of the native villages 
in that region, and with the cognisance of the State authorities." 



4 

I 



79 

The Zappo Zapps, as we know from the Rev. W. M. Morrison, 
are a cannibal tribe, armed and employed by the Congo State to 
raid for tribute — otherwise stated, for rubber. It was doubtless to 
Zappo Zapp villages that my correspondent referred. The same 
correspondent, upon news of the formation of the Trust, wrote : — 
" You may now expect to hear before long of the usual horrible 
atrocities in the Kasai district, similar to those prevaiUng in other 
parts of the Domaine Prive.** 

In Mr. Fox-Bourne's book, ** Civilisation in Congoland " (P. S. 
King & Son, 1903), much valuable information is collected, in respect 
to the Kasai district. In 1893, a portion of the cannibal soldiery 
of the Congo State, euphemistically termed Force PubliquCy was 
recruited in that district. At the end of 1893, 600 Batetlas (cannibals) 
in the service of the Congo State, and known as *' Gpngo Lutetes 
Bodyguard," were brought into the Kasai district, at Luluabourg. 
Two years later, they rebelled, sacked Luluabourg, and killed the 
Belgian officers in command. The cannibal Batetlas were replaced 
by the cannibal Zappo Zapps. In October, 1899, the same courageous 
American missionary, who to-day is helping so materially to proclaim 
the truth about the system of moral and material Fegeneratioa 
introduced into Central Africa by the Sovereign of the Congo State, 
wrote to that Sovereign as follows : — *' These Zappo Zapps, armed 
as they are, and sent out by the State to collect tribute for the 
Government and other purposes, are a terror to the whole region. 
They are the great slave-dealers of this section — a. traffic which the 
State is supposed to be making efforts to suppress.'* 

In that same year, the Rev. W. M. Morrison and his colleague,. 
Mr. Sheppard, made known for the first time to the world the fearful 
details which the former has recently brought to the knowledge of 
the world, and which were published in full in the issue of the West 
African Mail for May 8th. He appealed direct to the Sovereign of 
the Congo State, and to President McKinley. I have reason to believe 
that the late President addressed a remonstrance to the Sovereign 
of the Congo State on the subject. The Congo State promised to 
enquire. 

The result of the investigation, the Rev. W. M. Morrison an- 
nounced in May, 1903. None of the officials implicated have been 
punished, and matters are proceeding the same as ever. Murder,, 
raiding, slavery, forced labour, the chicotte, the chains, in fact all 
the natural and inevitable^attributes ;of the regenerating system,, 
are in full swing to-day. ^ 



80 

If honourable Belgians, disgusted, as many are. Math the abomina- 
tions which are sullying the name of their country, and which have 
made the Congo State an object of loathing throughout the world, 
are nevertheless inclined to doubt the absolute truth of the Rev. W. 
M. Morrison's statements, they have only to turn to the admissions 
of a Belgian Roman Catholic Priest, Father Cambier, given in that 
ludicrously dishonest publication issued the other day, and entitled 
'* The Truth about Belgian Civilisation in Congoland " (p. 192). 

The pecuniary results, of course, are all that could be desired. 
The rubber from the Kasai district is noted for its quality, and at the 
present high prices prevailing on the home markets, fetches in some 
cases 7s. 6d. per kilo. What the State made out of this particular 
district, prior to the formation of the Kasai Trust, can only be 
conjectured. The colossal profits which the State, as co-partner in 
the Trust is making now, can be estimated from Extract IV. at the 
head of this article. During the year closing December, 1902 — that 
is to say, in the first year of its operations — the Trust has *' collected " 
(charming word, that !) 565 tons of rubber. In order not to overstep 
the mark in any way, let us reckon that these 565 tons gave an 
average yield of 6s. per kilo. There are 1,015 kilos, to the ton. 
Therefore, if we multiply 1,015 by 565, we shall arrive at the number 
of kilos., viz. : 573,475. And if we multiply 573,475 by 6, we shall 
arrive at the number of shillings, viz. : 3,440,850, or ;f 172,042 10s. 

I wonder how many lives have been taken in the process ? 
Not even the Rev. W. M. Morrison can tell us that. 




81 



CHAPTER IX. 

Other Trusts. 

The Bahr-ei-Ghazal Trust (Socifix^ G^ni!rale Africaine) — 
The Kwango Trust (Comptoir Commercial Congolais) — 
The Lomami Trust (Compagnie du Lomami) — ^The Thys 
Trust — Railway and Land Trusts. 

The Bahr-el»Ghazal Trust. 

Society G6n6rale Africaine. 

THIS " Company" was founded in December, 18^7, with n tiapriifeal 
of Fes. 3,000,000. It is also a " State Institution," and seenos 
to be another name lor the State itself, beqause the >^1<1 of taxation 
levied by the State, instead of being declaned in the homeward 
manifests of the Congo steamers as "D.R,"* aire now made out to tte 
Soci^t^ G6n6rale Africaine. This Company was forsned for tbeptupoae 
of exploiting the territories leased to the Sovereign of the Congo State 
by Lord Rosebery, in the abortive Convention of 1894. In the 
Annexe, au Bulletin Officiel de VEtat Independant du Congo, for 
October, 1898, No. 10, we read that the Society Generale Africaine 
*' can create and issue bank-notes guaranteed by the State by pre- 
liminary agreement with the Congo Free State," and " can advance 
sums of money to the State, with or without guarantee." Article 
17 provides that '* The President of the Council of Administration 
is named, and dismissed, by the Sovereign King." Article 28 
provides that *' No modification of the Statutes is admitted unless 
it be approved by a decree of the Sovereign Eling." The capital was 
subsequently increased to Fes. 12,000,000. King Leopold fondJy 
imagined by means of this " Company " to exploit the riches of .the 
Bahr-el-Ghazal. So sure was he of success that the representative 
of the '* Company," M. de Baaker, who arrived at Matadi towards 
the close of 1^98, en route for the Bahr-el-Ghazal, carried in his 

« 

* That is, Domaine Privd, 



82 

pocket a chart of the Bahr-el-Ghazal upon which the '* concession " 
given to his '* G)mpany " was carefully marked. That " concession " 
covered the whole of the territory originally leased to the Conga 
State by the British Government, under section II of the Agreement 
of 1894. Like most agents of the State, he was not very discreet, 
and showed it to a friend of the author's at Mat£(.di. For full parti- 
culars of this affair, the reader is referred to the Nineteenth Century 
and After, for August, 1901. What this ** Company " may be doing 
now is doubtful, but from statements which have recently appeared 
in the Belgian Press, the Congo State would appear to have taken 
over the *' posts " it has founded on the Bahr-el-Ghazal frontiers. 



The Kwango Trust. 

Comptolr Cominerclal Congolals. 

Foimded in Antwerp, in 1892, under Belgian law ; recon- 
structed under Congo law in July, 1895.* Capital 500,000 
francs, divided into 2,000 shares, originally held between thirteen 
people, of whom Messrs. Alexis Mols, William F. Schmolle, Louis 
Hoeckle, A. Van den Nest, Edmund, Charles, and Andre de Wael 
account between them for 1,340 out of the 2,000.t Headquarters : 
Fayala, on the Wamba (Kwango). 

I am informed on excellent authority that half the profits go to 
the Congo State. 

According to the Bulletin Officiel (Annexe May-June, 1900), its 
profits in 1899 amounted to Fes. 262,089, or 52%. Personally, I 
have not been able to collect any further figures regarding this 
Company's operations. In the Statutes^ we read the following : — 

" Est aussi intervenu TEtat Ind^pendant du Congo qui a 
approuve les prdsents statuts et la cession des concessions k la 
Soci6t6." 

The above passage is in itself suffi^Ment to show that, like the 
other Trusts, it is a *' State Institution," to use the words of 
M. Wauters. 



* Wauters. 

t Comptoir Commercial Congolais, Statute Anvers; Intprimerie Ratinckx 
Frbres. 
X Ibid. 



THE CONGO STATE ABOVE LEOPOLDVILLE. 




The shaded portions indicate the areas of 
I,— The LoMAMi Trust. II.— The Kwango Trust. III. — The Territories 

ORIGINALLV LEASED TO THE SOC|£tE G^NERALB APRICAINE. IV. — THE SPHERE 

OF THE CiE. Du Chbhin db Fer aux Grand Lacs Africains operations. 
v.— The Sphere of the forthcoming Welle Trust. 



84 



The Lomami Trust. 

Compagnle du Lomaml.^ 

Founded July 5, 1898. Capital 3,000,000 francs. After 
sundry provisions for payment of percentage on shares, the 
Congo State gets 25%. (Article 34). The Thys group are largely 
interested in this concern. 

The Thys (Colonel) Trust. 

The interests of the Thys Trust are so scattered and now 
so largely bound up with the Congo State that it would be 
tedious and unprofitable to dissect them. They are present in the 
Lomami, Katanga, and Kasai Trusts, and exploit a portion of the 
Busira district, near the limits of the Domaine de la Couronne. The 
Thys group of Companies originally protested against the Decree 
and Circulars of 1891 and 1892, and waged violent warfare against 
the Sovereign of the Congo State until silenced by the grant of special 
privileges and concessions. 

Railway and Land Trusts. 

Compagnle du Chemln de fer du Congo Sup6rl6ur 

aux Grands Lacs Afrtcalns. 

Founded January 4, 1902. Capital 25,000,000 francs ; 100,000 
''actions de capital *' of Fes. 250 each; 100,000 ''actions 
de jouissance " held by the Congo State. Concessions in the 
Aruwimi district. 



Soclit6 d'Etude des Chemlns de fer du Stanley 
Pool au Ki^Tanga et de Tltlmbrl k TUti^, 

etc., etc. 

Founded in 1903. Capital Fes. 1,000,000: 1000 shares of 
Fes. 1000. Grant of 10,000 hectares on the left bank of the Congo, 
above Stanleyville, as compensation for survey expenses. For every 
Eqs^ .:^5,000|000 of capital subsequently subscribed, a concession of 
five millions hectares is guaranteed. Concession to be exploited by 
the State bri joint aecoiint; 

* Compagnie du Lontami: Brussels. P* Wbissenbruch, Impriflierie du Roi. 



af 



CHAPTER X.: 

Oppression in the Lower Congo. 

Personal Observations of the Rev. Mr. Haix in the Irebu 
District of the Upper Congo, and in the Lower Congo — 
Natives Retrogressing — ^Wholesale Emigration into 
French Territory—** The State do not xook upon us as 
Men, but as Monkeys '* — Personal Experiences qf the 
Rev. a. Williams in the Mayumbe District of the LawER 
Congo — Reign of Terror caused by exactions of 
Soldiery — ^Impoverishment and Depopulation. 

^*Our only prog-ramme, I am anxious to repeat, is the work of moral 
and material regfeneration. " — King Leopold. 

IT has been stated already that the Policy accountable for the 
oppression and cruelty which distinguishes the Belgian concep- 
tion of Equatorial African " development," as enforced in the Congo 
territories, does not apply to the insignificant portion of those 
territories known as the Lower Congo. The application of that Policy 
to the Lower Congo would have been of little service to its authors, 
for little or no ivory and rubber comes from there. It was not worth 
the while of the initiator of that Policy to trouble about the Lower 
Congo. 

Nevertheless the whole theory and practice of Belgian rule in 
Africa is so saturated with a. vicious disregard of ordinary decency 
in the treatment of the natives, and the class of men sent out to the 
Congo seem, as a rule, to be so lost to all sense of justice and equity, 
that it is not altogether surprising to find evidences of oppression in 
the Lower Congo. 

A notable outcome of this took place about three years ago, 
when the garrison of Shinkakassa Fort, near Boma — stirred -up, as it 
was reported at the time, by the persistent interference of the Belgian 
officers with the men's wives — ^rebelled, seized the fort, and rained 
shells for two days upon the capital, which would undoubtedly have 
been destroyed, had the native soldiers known how to manipulate 
the time-fuses. 



86 

The author received a visit, a few months ago, from the Rev. 
Mr. Hall, a West Indian Missionary, of good family, trained at the 
Calabar College, Kingston, Jamaica, and attached to the American 
Baptist Missionary Society of Boston. Mr. Hall has lived for very 
many years in the Congo : at MTalabala, Irebo, Ikoko, and Muki- 
moika. He came, bearing a letter of introduction from the well- 
known Dr. E. Wilmot Blyden, Director of Mohammedan Education 
in the Colony of Sierra Leone. The author subsequently received 
the highest testimonials as to Mr. Hall's uprightness and veracity 
from the Rev. J. H. Weeks, in charge of the Monsembe station of 
the Baptist Missionary Society, on the Congo. The particulars 
here given of Mr. Hall's experiences, both in the Upper and Lower 
Congo, are from notes taken by the author in the course of 
the interview. 

Mr. HalFs Experiences In the Irebu District 

(Upper Congo). 

*' I have been a number of years in the Upper Congo, and in the 
Lower Congo. Oppression characterised Congo State rule in the 
Upper Congo ; but there was no cutting off of hands in my particular 
district — Irebu. The people were heavily taxed. The particular 
Conunissaire of the district was inclined to leniency, and would some- 
times take manioc, out of which bread is made, instead of rubber, 
which was scarce in the immediate neighbourhood. Irebu is not far 
from the French frontier, and the natives escaped into French 
territory whenever they could. When I first went to Irebu the 
population in the actual neighbourhood was estimated at 5,000. 
That was in 1889. When I left in 1897, after eight years' residence, 
the population only amoimted to about three or four hundred ; the 
rest had emigrated. Since I left the Upper Congo, I have heard from 
time to time from my colleagues that the rubber oppression is much 
the same. The soldiers, who are used by the State to get in the 
rubber, have pretty much their own way. They seldom have 
ofi&cers to guide them when out collecting the rubber tax." 

Q. — What do you consider broadly the condition of the natives 
in the Upper Congo ? 

A. — " I believe that since the coimtry has been given over to the 
State, the natives are worse off than they were before. They used 
to be able to go about and trade. That is forbidden. They used 
to be able to sell their ivory — now they cannot do so. I have 



1 



87 

known natives at Irebu to throw their ivory into the river. They 
told me the State will not pay them a proper price. To the East 
of my district there were large towns on the banks of the river — 
now they are all wiped out, and the natives, because of the oppression 
to which they are subjected, have crossed into French territory. 
Irebu is a military station. When the State went there, they chased 
the natives out of the town, and the native plantations and gardens 
have all disappeared. The people are Bobangis and very peaceable. 
They express themselves very freely to us sometimes. They say they 
do not wish to remain in State territory, because they are not slaves 
to the State. The State, they say, entered their country and took 
their lands without payment, and now wish to make slaves of them 
by sending them into the bush to collect rubber. The natives were 
quite willing to supply the State with fish, as tribute, instead of rubber. 
They are fishermen in the first place, and in the second place they 
had to journey long distances to get the rubber, which meant that 
their homes had to be left to get it. They themselves had to live 
in the bush without shelter, and all their family arrangements were 
upset. Rather than endure this perpetual persecution, they have 
simply left the country, as I tell you. A native once said to me, 
** The State do not look upon us as men, but as monkeys, and that is 
why they treat us so." 

Hr. Hall's Experiences In the Lower Congo. 

** I have been eight years in the Lower Congo down to December, 
1902. There is no progress whatever among the natives of the 
Lower Congo. In fact, except in the immediate vicinity of the 
Mission station they are going back. There is no rubber tax there ; 
but towns and httle hamlets have to supply labourers for the State 
for three months at a time. These men are paid the miserable wage 
of 10 francs per month (8s. 4d.) ; they are employed in breaking 
stones, transport work, and so on. After three months' work they 
have, of course, nothing left out of their earnings, and they go home 
again with nothing with which to support their families or better their 
position. The result is they simply live on from year to year in the 
same condition, getting more impoverished every year. In many 
parts of the Lower Congo there is much depopulation. In what is 
now Congo State territory, near the Portuguese frontier, there used to 
be very large towns and villages. They are now quite abandoned, 
the natives preferring the rule of the Portuguese, which is none of the 



88 

best, to the rule of the Belgians, which is far worse. Before I left 
the G)ngo, I had many complaints brought before me by the natives. 
Amongst other things they said they had to provide the State with 
all their live stock, for which they got nothing of value in return, 
and they were not allowed to shootjgame to feed themselves. They 
actually had to buy their own food. The State, they said, had taken 
their country without remuneration, and now the State has made 
laws to prevent them killing their game — the only way in which 
they can get meat. The State, they said, can get supplies from 
Europe — " but we have no meat but that which God has given us 
in our forests." They said the State told them not to kill 
elephants. They have no objection to that, but now they are told 
they must not kill antelopes or buffaloes. 

In conclusion, I can assert that, after my long experience, State 
rule has in no way benefited the native. On the contrary, they are 
being utilised for the pecuniary benefits of the State, while the State 
does nothing to better their condition." 

Tba Experienca of the Rev. A. R. WiUiame in the 

Lower Congo. 

The Rev. A. R. Williams, of the Christian Missionary Alliance, 
of New York, who has just returned from the Congo, called 
upon the author last month, after first seeing Mr. H. R. Fox-Bourne, 
who suggested his seeing the author on his way to America. The 
substance of Mr. Williams' remarks, as taken down at the time, are 
now given : 

" I have just returned from^four years' residence in the Mayumbe 
district of the Lower Congo. I was located about 100 miles due north 
oif Boma, the capital of the State, and about 40 miles from the French 
and Portuguese frontiers respectively. The inhabitants of Mayumbe 
aire Fjorts, very peaceable folk, and naturally friendly towards the 
White man. The State post of Tshala is 3J hours' march to the west 
of my station of Kinkonse. It is garrisoned by about 80 soldiers 
from the Upper Congo. The existing taxation in this district takes 
the form of labour. The soldiers are sent out and force the villages 
to give labourers, who are paid with trumpery bits of cloth or hand- 
kerchiefs, of little or no value. The men are employed in carrying 
loads of rice from the neighbourhood of Tshala to rail-head (Mayumba ' 
railway). They also work in the State stations, planting, clearing, 
etc. I must emphasise the fact that the pay to the natives is utterly 



^ 



89 

inadequat^^ both for labour and victuals, with which they are com- 
pelled to furnish the State posts. Where we give four fathoms of 
superior cloth, the State gives small: strips of common and useless 
stuff — and this as remuneration for canying the most heavy loads. 
So heavy are these loads* that the men come back utterly played out, 
and not infrequently die from the effects of over-fatigue, 
These unfortunate carriers sometimes throw their loads down 
and bolt, feehng that they simply cannot struggle on. When this 
occurs, the chief of the village which supplied the absconding men is 
heavily fined in live stock, if proper wages were paid, and the loads 
more fairly adjusted, there would be no difficulty in getting carriers: 
Moreover, cases have come to my personal knowledge, wh^e the men 
have not been paid at all. Some excuse or another has been given. 

The soldiers are a perfect terror to the whole place ; and the 
bad characters of the neighbourhood are enlisted to help them. They 
rape the women, and clear the villages of live stock, and generally 
behave in a most oppressive and unjust way. I have taken soldiers 
red-handed in acts of oppression, a^d complained to their officers, 
btit as a rule, they are never punished, although ^omises are made. 
A day or two after such an event has occurred, the soldier has passed 
by me grinning. Some officers are more inclined to act justly than 
others. One such man who was in charge of the State post for a part 
of the time used to do all he could to suppress outrages. We recog- 
nised and were grateful for his good intentions. He was undoubtedly 
sincere, but he could do but little. He went home sick, and the next 
man we had was a perfect brute. 

The result of this wholesale levying of a tax on food-stuffs is that 
towns become almost destitute of animals — this means of course, the 
impoverishment of the people. Natives are continually complaining 
to us. When news arrives that the soldiers are going to visit a parti- 
cular district, all the women take refuge in the bush, and live there 
shelterless, homeless, and half starved, with their children, until the 
soldiers have gone, to escape being raped or seized. I have seen with 
my own eyes, streams of women and children, with such household 
utensils as they could carry, flying to the bush, or to villages close to 
our stations, where they were sure of not being molested. I was at 
our own out-school last December, when about 100 women and 
children came in, flying from the soldiers. Personally, I have not 
observed depopulation, because my station is too far from the frontier; 
but the head of our Mission, who has visited the districts lying near 
the Portuguese frontier, where there were many towns a few years 



90 

ago, tells me all the people have left. From and about Stanley Pool 
where the Upper Congo begins, I hear that where stations were built 
by another Society, some years ago in the midst of a flomishing and 
numerous population, there are now so few natives that it is hardly 
worth while maintaining those particular stations." 

Petition from Horchawts. 

On August 10th, 1901, the merchants established in the Lower 
Congo (of whom there remain a few) petitioned the King to reduce 
taxation. After pointing out the heavy import and export duty on 
goods and produce (20/- per ton on palm oil for instance) and showing 
how small the existing export trade already was, owing to the taxes 
and emigration of native labour, due to ** the means employed in 
raising native levies." The petitioners went on to say : "we do not 
disguise from ourselves that business in the Lower 0>ngo is prac- 
tically nil . . . Each of us," continues the petition, " consistently 
hopes for an increase in trade, but these hopes appear to us more and 
more unrehable, and the Government of the Congo State, instead 
of coming to aid us, imposes increased and too onerous taxes." 




91 



CHAPTER XI 

The Commercial 5tatistics of the 
Congo 5tate for 1902. 

The " Bulletin Officiel " Examined — The Truth about the 
Trade of the Congo State. 

** The system of the State, at the same time that it hastens the economic 
development of the country, has g^iven rise to A CONSIDERABLE COMMERCIAL 
MOVEMENT."— ^tt//tf/»» de V Etat Inddpendant du CongOy Juin, 1903. 

WE have always contended that the Congo State's own Decrees, 
and the Congo State's own published documents, are at once 
the most informing and the most reveaUng material which we have 
to go upon in studying both its policy and its methods. The root of 
the problem — the axis upon which all else revolves — ^is there, in the 
official publications issued from the head-quarters in Brussels of that 
gigantic Trust which calls itself an Institution for the " moral and 
material regeneration " of the races of Equatorial Africa. 

There lies before us at the present moment a copy of the Bulletin 
Officidlde VEtat Independant du Congo, No. 4 (April, 1903), giving 
the statistics of its " trade " for 1902. It begins thus : 

" Report to the Sovereign King. 

" Sire, — I have the honour to place before the eyes of Your 
Majesty the Commercial Statistics of the Congo State for the year 
1902," and it ends thus : 

*' I am, with the greatest respect, Sire, of Your Majesty, the 
very humble, very obedient and very faithful servant and subject, 

" In the name of the Secretary of State : 
** The General Secretary of the Finance Department, 

" H. DROOGMANS." 

M. Droogmans might have added, *' and the President of the 
Comite Special du Katanga, the Trust which Your Majesty has grac- 
iously condescended to form for the purpose of elevating the natives 
of the Katanga region of Your Majesty's Dominion.'* But, as another 



92 

issue of the BuUetin Officid contains the deficiency, perhaps M. Droog 
mans did not think it necessary to append his full titles to this parti- 
cular document. 

The *' Q>mmercial Statistics." Let us bear this phrase carefully 
in mind. The BiMetin Officid, No. 4 (April, 1903), purposes to give 
us the " Commercial Statistics " of the State for 1902. We will then 
examine these " Commercial Statistics." 

The total export " trade "♦ is given at Fes, 50,069,5U.9T or 
;£2,002,780, and the total import "trade" is given at Fes. 18,080,909.25, 
or ;£723,23S. 

The Expbrt " Trade," TotaU Fee. 50|069,5i4.97, 

or £2,002,780. 

We are at once struck with the extraordinary disproportion 
between the two figures. What a peculiar country must this be, 
whose inhabitants give £2,002,780 worth of produce to receive in 
return only £723,236 of goods ! But we will let that pass for the 
moment, and proceed to the analysis of this '* trade," taking first 
of all the export returns. A tabular statement on page 67 renders 
the task comparHtively easy, and we speedily ascertain that out of 
the total value of exports, amounting to Fes. 50,069,514.97, or 
£2,002,780, rubber is represented by Fes. 41,733,525.60, or 
£1,669,341; and ivory is represented by Fes. 4,986,140.00, or 
£199,446. Of the total export returns, then, amounting as we have 
seen to £2,002,780, rubber and ivory represent between them 
£1,868,787. 

Turning to pages 69 and 71, we find that the rubber and the 
ivory came from the Upper Congo, with the exception of Fes. 
106,594.80 worth of rubber, and Fes. 67,500 worth of ivory, which 
came from the Lower Congo. These two amounts added together 
give Fes. 174,094.80, or £6,963. Examining other items of export, 
we further ascertain that of the total coffee exported (Fes. 109,636.55) 
the Upper Congo produced Fes. 81,741.80 ; the Lower Congo, Fes. 
27,894.85 ; the whole of the gum copal (Fes. 475,496) came from the 
Upper Congo ; of the total cocoa exported (Fes. 22,222.10), Fes. 
10,347.40 came from the Upper Congo ; the Upper Congo produced 
all the rice exported, Fes. 9,429 ; and all the tobacco exported, 
Fes. 509.40. 



• The total export "trade," that is of the Congo State itself, the commerce 
special — not to be confounded with the commerce gdn^ral — which includes 
gfoods passing over the Congo railway to and from the French and German 
possessions. 



d3 

The export '* trade " therefore, may be analysed thu^ : 
Total Fes. . . 50,069,bl4.97, of £2,002,780. 

Vppet Cohgt>. Lower Cdn^o. Totak 

Rubber.... £1,665,077 £4.264 £1,669,341 

Ivory 196,745 2,701 199,446 

Ground Nuts ... ».... ^355 — 3,355 

Cc^ee 3,269 1,116 4,385 

Gum Copal 19,020 — 19,020 

Palm Oil — 38,034 38,034 

Pahn Kernels — ^ 67,758 67,758 

Cocoa 414 474 888 

Beans — 63 63 

Maize 12 3 

Hides — 48 48 

Rice.. 377 — 377 

Tobafcco ^ 20 — 20 

Timber — 42 42 

£1,888,278 £114,502 £2,002,780 

The total export returns, then, minus the export of rubber and 
ivory, only amounted in 1902 to £133,993, and of the total returns, 
the Lower Congo only accounts for £1 14,502. The result can be shown 
more clearly by parallel columns : 

Total Export " Trade " £2,002,780. 

Upper Congo. Lower Cong:o. 

Total ...£1,888,278. Total £114,502 

{Rubber a«d Ivory £1,S^^7S7) 
(Other Produce.,.. £19,490) 

It is instructive to compare these figures with thosfe given by 
Stanley in his lecture before the London Chamber of Commerce on 
September 19, 1884, when he was playing the part of political bagman 
for King Leopold. According to those figures, the Lower Congo — 
the Upper Congo was not then " opened up " — exported in 1883 
produce to the value of £1,856,400, Stanley added : *' The area of 
the Congo country that supplies these exports cannot exceed 15,000 
square miles, as the navigable length of the Lower Congo is only 110 
miles." It should be mentioned, however, that Stanley included in 
that estimate a longer extent of coast line in his ** Congo country *' 
than the Lower Congo (Congo State) now contains. But it can be 
asserted without fear of contradiction that the trade of the Lower 
Congo river was infinitely larger prior to the formation of the Congo 
State than it is to-day; In fact, it has now dwindled to almost 



94 

nothing, owing to the heavy taxes imposed by the Congo State 
authorities,* and to the steady depopulation of the country, which 
is rapidly becoming a desert, both on the banks of the river itself, 
and in the territory immediately north of it which is subject to Congo 
State rule. 

But the significance of the above figures lies in the fact that of 
the million and odd square miles handed over to the Congo State by 
the Powers, the insignificant strip of territory known as the Lower 

Congo is the only part of it where trade exists. The whole of the vast 

» 

Upper Congo is one huge Trust divided into a number of lesser Trusts, 
and it is from the Upper Congo, as these figures show, that the exports 
come from ; 99-lOOths of which are composed of rubber and ivory. 
The phrase " Commercial Statistics " is a piece of deUberate men- 
dacity. There is no trade in the Upper Congo. The rubber and 
ivory exported therefrom has been officially declared to be the pro- 
perty of the State before it is collected, and it is wrung from the 
unfortunate natives by methods now well known to the whole world. 

Another point of interest before leaving the export statistics. 
The financial estimates of the State for 1902 amounted to Fes. 
28,70^,000, of which Fes. 15,452,000 (£618,080) was represented by 
revenue from the Domaine Prive, viz. : taxes paid in kind by the 
natives, or, in other words, ivory and rubber forced out of the natives ; 
so that £618,080 out of the total of £1,888,278 representing the Upper 
Congo exports, is accounted for in this way — the product of taxation 
which the State has the effrontery to include in its export '* trade " 
statistics ! Of course, the actual returns of this taxation were much 
larger than the estimates. The former are never published, and can 
only be ascertained by ascertaining the realisations of the rubber 
and ivory sold by the State's brokers in Antwerp on account of the 
State. Upon this point I dwelt fully in Chapter I. 

Having reviewed the so-called export ** trade,'' we will now 
examine the so-called import " trade." 

The Import "Trade," Total, Fes. 18,080,909.25, 

or £723,236. 

The disproportion between the export and import figures was 
commented upon at the beginning of this notice. The analysis of 
the exports has clothed that disproportion with the greater signifi- 
cance. We have found upon examination that out of a total export 
*' trade " of £2,002,780, produce from the Upper Congo — ^where 

* Ag^ainst which the few merchants left have publicly protested. See Chapter XI. 



95 

no ''trade!" exists— accounted for ^£1, 888,278 (£1,868,787, repre- 
sented by rubber and ivory) ; that ^^618,080 of the latter total was 
composed of the proceeds of taxation ; and that trade properly 
so-called in the Congo territories did not really amount to more than 
;f 114,502 for the year. It may be hoped that the fiction of an export 
" trade '* from the Congo State has been disposed of. The fiction of 
an import " trade," of any consequence, has now to be exploded. 

Well, in the first place, we are not long in discovering that a 
considerable proportion of the articles imported into the Congo 
State territories have nothing in the remotest degree to do with the 
trade in the sense of being goods imported for barter with natives 
against produce. Many of them in any honest Colonial repprt would 
be classified among Government stores, public works, etc. 
We will enumerate them : 

Matches Fes. 18,398.57 

Live Stock and Fodder 99,167.50 

♦Military Equipment, Arms, Ammunition, etc. . . 999,297.86 

Steamers, Boilers, Anchors, and Chains 754,242.12" 

Coffee 21,122.57 

Camping Materials 113,989.35 

Varnish, Paints 76,379.41 

tStores, Preserved Meats, Potatoes, etc 3,948,667.05- 

Drugs 49,854.57 

tClothing and Linen 903,233.99 

Saddles, Saddlery 40,579.80 

Scientific Instruments 88,959.44 

Locomotives, Wagons, Machinery, Telephone and 

Telegraph Material 745,087.21 

Materials for construction 390,948.62 

Furniture 195,862.79 

Desk Furniture, Account Books, Note Paper, etc. . . 210,922.71 

Beer 329,347.40 

Wine 773,179.46 

Rails 69,466.63 

Cigars and Cigarettes 82,270.32 

Fes. 9,910,977.37 

* The total gfiven is Fes. 1,105,966.52, but as this contains an item of 
Fes. 213,337.32 for g-unpowder, and as a portion of this gunpowder may be 
used in the real trade of the Lower Congo (imported ehiefly by the Dutch 
Trading Company), we have deducted half the above value from the total. 

t The total under this item is Fes. 4,048^995.10, but as it includes salt of 
a value of Fes. 101,328.11, and as this salt may be used in the real trade of 
the Lower Congo, we have deducted the value of the salt from the total. 

X It must be borne in mind that there are some 20,000 soldiers to clothe* 



96 

It will be seen, therefore, that goods of the value of Fes. 
9,910,977.37, or £396,439, are included in the import " trade,' 
totalling £723,236 ; which are completely foreign to *^ trade." You 
do not purchase produce from the natives with locomotives, or rails, 
or account books, or telephones, or cigars, or wines, or boilers, or 
scientific instruments. Hence, if an examination of the export 
returns had not already shown us that 99-lOOths of the export 
" trade " is no " trade " at all, a study of the import returns would 
have confronted us with a fact even more astonishing than a country 
paying £723,236 in goods for £2,002,780 worth of produce — ^viz. : 
a country paying only £326,439 in goods for £2,002,780 worth of 
produce ! 

But apart from the items mentioned above, which may be 
definitely crossed out of the category of trade goods, there are a 
number of other items, the greater part of which are probably quite 
as foreign to trade as the ones already named. For instance : 

WorkedlWood and Wooden Objects Fes. 248,883.77 

Candles 34,608.56 

Rope, Nets, and Fishing Utensils 23,035.70 

Seeds (Vegetable) .. 3.9,681.75 

Oils and Greases, Resin, etc 129,352.31 

(Probably for lubricating engines, axles, etc.) 

Chemical Products 3S,473.00 

Pharmacopoeia 193,648.79 

Soap 89,798.89 

Glass and Glassware **. 381,659.59 

Fes. 1,179,142.36 
Thus a further sum of Fes. 1,179,142.36, or £47,165, out of the 
'* total trade " imports, may not unreasonably be regarded as not 
in the least connected with " trade " properly so-called. The list 
might be largely added to, but the items are not sufficiently detailed 
to do so with any degree of accuracy. 

Such are the '' Commercial Statistics " of the Congo State — 
such its trade in 1902 ! 



What are the conclusions to be derived from this study ? . Trade 
in the Congo State is to all intents and purposes nil, or so insignificant 
that it is not worth considering. The vast Trust and the lesser Trusts 
attached to it — otherwise the Domaine Privi Companies in whose 
profits the Congo State shares and whose policy it controls — ^have 



97 

succeeded in grinding out of the natives of the Upper Congo, in 1902, 
£1,868,787 worth of rubber and ivory for which the native has received 
nothing, or practically nothing. The import " trade " is mainly 
composed of articles necessary to the up-keep of the Trust (and the 
subsidiary Trusts) organisations, and the feeding and clothing and 
arming of its servants, white and black. The Trust buys where it 
likes, and, of course, it buys in Belgium whenever it can. 

There is no trade in the Congo State. There is no expansion. 
There is no opening for commerce. A vast field, and one of the 
richest in Equatorial Africa, is closed to trade. In all that makes 
for the development and advancement of a country, the Congo State 
is reaction personified. The door of Equatorial Africa, instead of 
being flung opefi, has been slammed in the face of the world. After 
nineteen years' existence the export trade of the Congo State is under 
;f 150,000 per annum. But the produce of slave-labour totals nearly 
;f2,000,000 per annum. The imports (which, if the exports were 
genuine trade exports, would total well over a miUion, exclusive of 
railway and marine material. Government stores and all the para- 
phernalia of administration) total ;f 700,000, of which at the very least 
60%, and probably nearer 80% than 60%, is composed of railway 
and marine material. Government stores, military equipment for the 
20,000 cannibal troops, and so on. As for British and British 
Colonial* imports, they do not amount to more than £104,358, 
which is considerably less than twenty years ago. 

Those are the dry-as-dust facts. But it is chiefly by a careful 
study and analysis of these facts — ^which bear the official stamp of 
the Congo State Authorities — that we can hope to make the truth 
about the Congo State known to those who do not seem yet to grasp 
that, given a poUcy based upon the denial of the native of Equatorial 
Africa to any right whatsoever in his land or the produce thereof, and 
dependent for its continuation upon the acquisition by force of those 
products, slavery is necessarily re-established,- and outrage and 
oppression rendered inevitable and endemic. 

* The whole trade of Great Britain and her Colonies with the Cong'o 
State is ;£i 15,956; viz.: Imports, ;£ 104,358, Exports, ;Ci 1,598. 



d8 



CHAPTER XII. 

The Debate in the House of 
Commons, riay 20, 1903. 

The Prime Minister Pledges the Government to take 
Action — Important Debate in Parliament. 

Text of the resolution accepted by His Majesty's Government : 
*' That the Government of the Congo Free State having, at its 
inception, guaranteed to the Powers that its native subjects 
should be governed with humanity, and that no trading 
monopoly or privilege should be permitted within its 
dominions ; this House requests His Majesty's Government 
to confer with the other Powers, signatories of the Berlin 
General Act, by virtue of which the Congo Free State exists, 
in order that measures may be adopted to .abate the evils 
prevalent in that State." 

In the House of Commons on May 20, at 9 p.m., Mr. H. L. 
Samuel (Yorkshire, Cleveland), called attention to the administration 
of the Congo Free State, and moved the resolution published in The 
West African Mail of May 15th. He said the Congo Free State 
had been created by the common consent of the Great Powers, and 
had been allotted, hot to a country, but to an individual : the King 
ofTthe Belgians. This was done subject to certain conditions to be 
found in the Act drawn up by the Berlin Conference — ^first, that the 
moral and material well-being of the natives should be furthered ; 
and, secondly, that entire freedom and liberty should be secured 
to the commerce of all nations. What had been the result ? Prac- 
tically the whole of the State was regarded as the private possession 
of the King of the Belgians, with the exception of a small portion 
south of Stanley Pool. Vast areas had been allotted to financial 
companies which had their headquarters in Belgium, or elsewhere 



99 

on the Continent, in which the Congo Free State held half shares. 
In these huge reservations no outside trader was allowed to carry 
on his business. The Parliamentary paper published the previous 
night showed that an unfortunate Austrian, trading in the eastern 
portion of the Congo Free State, was arrested and sentenced to one 
j^ar's imprisonment for ** trading in a district in which public 
trading is forbidden." The exports of the Congo Free State to Bel- 
gium were worth ^f 1,860,000, and to England £11,400 ; while in the 
French West African Colonies, which had about the same population, 
and were under a protectionist regime, the trade with Great Britain 
was proportionately four times greater. A far graver issue, however, 
was the treatment of the native population. 

"Constant Atrocities and Unending Tyranny." 

Forced labour of many kinds was at present authorised by law, 
and forced military service. Cannibal troops were set loose to raid 
their neighbours, there were constant atrocities and unending tj^anny. 
Carriers needed for transport were kidnapped, and the large revenue 
of the country was raised to a great degree by heavy taxes on the 
natives. The hon. member accordingly read at length detailed 
accounts from missionaries and others, of fiendish acts of cruelty 
perpetrated on the natives. As a consequence thousands fled from 
the villages, the men fleeing to the forests and the women and children 
seeking refuge in the mission stations. In one stockade an eye- 
witness found eighty human hands being slowly dried over a fire. 
There were many missionaries who had not the courage to speak 
out as to the facts of which they were aware, and they would not 
allow their names to be published. Some years ago a number of 
British subjects from Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast were recruited 
in the Congo Free State ; but owing to their terrible sufferings the 
Government had to stop the recruiting, and it was now prohibited. 
There were very many witnesses who had testified to these atrocities. 
If the administration of the Congo State was civilization, then, he 
asked, what was barbarism ? Financially the activity of this Govern- 
ment had been a brilliant success. The companies which had been 
founded to exploit the rubber industry had prospered amazingly, 
and the State had a share of the enormous profits which they had 
made. He had done his best not to exaggerate the case. He was 
glad to think that pubhc opinion was waking up to the evils of 
which they complained. The course which should be adopted was 



100 

a matter for those in authority. The Act of Berlin provided that 
an international commission should be appointed to regulate the 
navigation of the Congo and to investigate any charges made of 
breaches of the Act. That commission had not been appointed. 
His Majesty's Government might propose to the other Powers 
concerned that that international commission should be established 
and that through its agency steps should be taken to abate these 
evils. It would shortly become necessary for the Powers to decide 
whether the duties on goods imported into the Congo State should 
be allowed to continue, and His Majesty's Government would then 
have an opportimity of taking action in concert with the other Powers. 
He trusted the Government would realise that in this matter apathy 
and delay were intolerable, and that by taking the initiative they 
would add to the annals of the good deeds of this country. He 
begged to move the resolution. (Cheers). 

Sir C. Dilke (Gloucester, Forest of Dean), in seconding the 
motion, said it must not be supposed that this vast district of the 
Congo was unknown to British trade and British missions before 
the King of the Belgians went there. In a dispatch of 1876 the 
Government laid down the position with regard to our trading 
rights in the Congo State. They directed Sir William Hewett to make 
fresh treaties with the chiefs on the south bank of the Congo for 
absolute free trade, and similar freaties were made by other naval 
officers on the north bank. In 1876 Sir T. F. Buxton and the right 
hon. member for the Honiton Division took part in starting at 
Brussels the International African Association. In 1880-81 De 
Brazza for the French, and Mr. H. M. Stanley for the King of the 
Belgians, made treaties on both banks of the river ; and in the 
struggle that developed, assurances were given of the utmost free- 
dom for all who wished to extend their trade there, in almost the 
terms of the BerHn Act. 

"Violations of Plighted Word and Solemn Treaty 

Engagements/* 

The personal assurances of King Leopold were as could be 
conceived. In 1882 the King informed us that his '* sole object 
was to open Africa to the trade of all nations and to allow the pene- 
tration of civiUsation." His association had no commercial char- 
acter, but was ** an association of wealthy philanthropists, who, in 
the disinterested aims of civilisation and for love of progress, sought 



101 

to open the basin of the Congo." The Commercial Department 
of the Foreign Office was directed to give assurances to Hatiton and 
Cookson, of Liverpool, who had great interests there, and to Holt, 
of Liverpool, and the Chambers of Commerce of Liverpool and 
Manchester, that continued complete freedom of trade would be in 
any case maintained. The Government were a party to these assur- 
ances ; and it was their bouriden duty to see that these assurances 
were continued and maintained. (Hear, hear.) King Leopold was 
in the position of despotic ruler in the country, and could not approach 
the Government through his Belgian Ministers ; and in 1884 Sir 
M. Mackinnon was his intermediary, and he, on behalf of the King, 
promised *' absolute freedom of trade " and " absence of privilege." 
In 1884-85 came the Berlin Conference. Sir J. Pauncefote and 
Sir E. Malet were our plenipotentiaries, and Baron de Courcel was 
the principal French plenipotentiary ; and the two latter were still 
living and could confirm the statement that the assurances were 
repeated. The basis of the Conference was " freedom of commerce 
within the basin of the Congo " and " to bring the natives within 
the pale of civilisation." Note was taken of the declarations of the 
King by the BerUn Act and protocols, and two sets of words were 
used. One declared against '* monopoly or favour of any kind in 
matters of trade," and the other form was ** no monopoly or privilege 
of any kind in commercial matters." Baron de Courcel, on behalf 
of a committee of the conference, explained that this included trade 
in all products of the soil, and there was a distinct expression of the 
right of foreigners to '* immovable possessions " in the Congo basin. 
The acts of which they complained had been going on for a long 
time, and it had been notorious to the world that there had been 
violations of plighted word and solemn treaty engagements. (Hear, 
hear.) It was not enough to say the subject had had attention. 
There must be reports on the subject ; but the House had not had 
them. Undoubtedly there had been a certain timidity on the part of 
the Government in regard to action. The decrees of the State had 
been alluded to, and these decrees in effect made the whole land 
and all the products of the soil in this vast region the personal property 
of King Leopold. More than that, the whole field had been covered 
by nine concessions to large companies, and our trade had been killed 
by these operations. There was nothing but monopoly ; no open 
trade was left. These concessions covered everything worth having 
in the Congo valley. One of the concessions extended to the Bahr- 
el-Ghazal in the Anglo-Eg3q>tian sphere ; though, happily, this was 



103 

not now being worked. This showed that there was no limit to the 
pretensions of the Congo State. As regarded seven out of the nine 
concessions, the 50% arrangement prevailed ; there was one of 
which the conditions were unknown, and in the case of the Katanga 
concession the State took two-thirds of the whole of the shares. That 
was a gigantic concession, covering the whole of the district nearest 
to our own possessions, and coming right up to our territory. As a 
specimen of the way in which this Katanga concession was likely 
to work in connection with the development of our possessions, let 
the House take the Rabinek case. There was, it seemed to him, 
the most absolute monopoly in this case of the products of the soil, 
the most absolute and direct violation of the principles laid down 
by Baron de Courcel. He could not imagine that the Under-Secretary 
for Foreign Affairs would deny that there had been a complete 
violation of the Berlin Act ; and, if he admitted that, he thought 
they had established a case where we must insist on our treaty rights 
being fulfilled. (Hear, hear.) As to the question of the natives, 
the whole anti-slavery world had been swindled by the administration 
of the Congo State. (Cheers.) 

"Complete Enslavement of the Whole Population." 

; It was obvious that there was a complete enslavement of the 
whole population, and that it could lead to nothing but a system of 
horrors. The Congo State had palliated, but had never attempted 
to deny the charges. Although the Congo State had been spending 
money like water within the last few weeks in publishing denials of 
all sorts of things, and in sending lying books to members of that 
House, no attempt had been made to answer charges. Not one of 
the horrible decrees had been withdrawn. All the new concessions 
had been added, and the collection of rubber out of which the sentry 
system grew had been extended to the whole territory, so that the 
new regime was thus an extension of the old. As the suppressors 
of slavery and the slave-trade, we had always led Europe, and had a 
higher degree of responsibility under the engagement of the Powers 
qf Berlin to watch over the execution of the Berlin Act for the 
protection of the natives. The Congo State, as he thought, had 
acted treacherously in the matter of the leases granted in 1894, and 
they were left in possession of the Lado enclave in the Anglo-Egyptian 
sphere. Possibly, what had made us hold our hands, and rather 
shamefully neglect to do what otherwise any British Government 



103 

must desire to do, might be timidity as to what might happ^ to 
the Congo State. Dealing as an miofficial member with that delicate 
question in a way that an official member could not do, he would say, 
speaking for himself, that if the choice lay between the Congo Valley 
going to France and the present state of affairs continuing, it would 
be better in our own interests that it should go to France. We ha4 
declined this territory. All we desired was security for the native*, 
regard for their rights, and security for British trade against mono* 
poly and restriction. (Cheers.) 

''Overwhelming Evidence." 

SjB J. GoRST said he hoped the Government might be able to 
accept this motion and that, strengthened by resolutioir of the House 
of Commons, they would take some practical step for the dehverance 
of the Congo territory from the evils which had been described. He 
did not think anybody now could doubt the substantial accuracy of 
the description given by the hon. member who moved the resolution 
of the condition of the natives in the Congo State. The evidence 
was perfectly overwhelnping. The state of things which had been 
revealed would grow worse unless some steps were taken. There 
was no doubt that His Majesty's Government had a right to interfere, 
because the treaties made between the Congo State and ourselves 
had been violated. Was it expedient to interfere ? He should say 
it was. We had a right to interfere in the interests of our trade ; 
and it was our right and duty to interfere because of our Imperial 
position and because of the policy we had always asserted in the face 
of the world in regard to slavery and the treatment of native races. 
There were probably other Powers who were nearly equally respon- 
sible with ourselves ; and a conference with the Powers, or an appeal 
to those Powers who were parties to the Berlin Act would be a per- 
fectly legitimate and inoffensive step to take in the first instance. 
Although the United States were not parties to the BerUn Act, he 
beUeved the President of the United States had already taken steps 
to protest against the condition of affairs in Congoland. Surely 
we, who were responsible for the BerUn Act, had a perfect right to 
take such steps as would bring this terrible state of things to an 
end. 

Mr. Emmott (Oldham) supported the motion. He said there 
was ample testimony of the truth of the stories which had come to 
them from the Congo State ; and ghastly stories they were. 



104 

''A Direct, a Necessary, an Inevitable Result 

of the System.** 

The Stokes affair was a very good example of the kind of justice 
and fair play that one got in the Congo State ; and the Rabinek 
affair was significant, for the only crime with which Rabinek was 
charged was that of attempting to trade in the territory which was 
monopolised by the Katanga company. He believed these cases 
to be a direct, a necessary, an inevitable result of a wrong system. 
(Hear, hear.) The condition of affairs, he believed, was due to a 
system which could only be worked successfully from the financial 
standpoint by inhumanity (hear, hear), and that system brutalised 
both natives and white agents. The problem before Europe with 
regard to tropical Africa was great and difficult, but he did not think 
it was insoluble, because the methods that were best for the negro 
were those that were best for our own people at home. l^The best 
method of civilising the natives of tropical Africa was by trade, by 
the gradual permeation of honest, upright trade methods. Judged 
by this standard, or by any decent standard, what were they to say 
of the Congo State ? Look at its system-^expropriation of the natives 
from the land without compensation, monopoly of the products of the 
soil, the natives forbidden to collect the products of the soil except 
for sale to the State, and immediately after that a forced collection 
of the products of the soil, for which the natives were paid most un- 
satisfactorily by the State, and, in order to enforce this collection 
of the products, a cannibal army had to be recruited. In addition 
to all this, they had a system of forced levies both for the army and 
for the large number of labourers which was employed on the planta- 
tions of the State. That system was not trade at all (hear, hear), 
and the whole of this system of so-called trade, the whole industrial 
system of this country, rested upon force. He quoted sworn docu- 
ments to show the treatment of the native women, and to bear out 
his contention that the system of the white man was maintained by 
forced labour. Such a system must inevitably break down, and when 
it did there would be danger to us and other European nations. The 
monopoly system was clearly illegal, and it was certainly against 
the spirit of the Berlin Act. When the collapse came the vast region 
inhabited by the fierce Bantu tribes, armed and imbued with an 
undying hatred of the white man, would be anything but a comfort- 
able enterprise for us in the Bahr-el-Ghazal. Europe ought to set 
about doing two things. First of all the system must be changed, 



105 

root and branch. The finance and other things rested on this system 
of monopoly and of forced collection of rubber, and when these were 
stopped the State must collapse. Next, if we did not intervene 
now, we would be compeDed to intervene soon. 

Viseottnt Cranborne replies for the Governmeiit 

Viscount Cranborne (Rochester) said that he was in a peculiar 
position, because no general attack had been delivered against His 
Majesty's Government. For the most part the debate had consisted 
of an attack on the Government of the Congo Free State. He was 
not there to represent that Government, and he could take no 
responsibility for the acts of that Government. But he asked himself 
what was the attitude which the representative of His Majesty's 
Government ought to take in dealing with a discussion of this kind. 
He did not desire for one moment to defend or to extenuate anything 
which might be proved to be amiss in the Congolese Government. 
He wished to approach the question from the impartial and quasi- 
judicial point of view. First of all, what right had this Government 
to deal with the state of things in the Congo Free State ? We had 
undoubtedly a legitimate locus standi, not so much by virtue of the 
special treaties which had been referred to as of the general Act of 
Berlin, which was more precise and which went further. We had 
the locus standi which every signatory to that Berlin Act possessed. 
There was no question that the Congo Free State had entered into 
certain obligations towards us ; but we had entered into no obliga- 
tions whatever as to the Government of the Congo Free State. There 
was, however, the duty which belonged to every signatory to the Act 
of Berlin. Upon what subjects and in what directions did these 
obUgations of the Congo Free State extend ? He would treat the 
subject from the points of view of trade and of government. As to 
trade, there was a clause in the Act of Berlin which bound every 
signatory, wherever they possessed sovereign powers within the area 
affected by the treaty, not to grant a monopoly or favour of any kind 
in matters of trade. The language was very general, but in treaties 
it would be found that the language always was very general. His 
Majesty's Government were disposed to think that the system which 
^had been established, and which was prevalent in the Congo Free 
State, was not altogether in accordance with the obUgations into which 
the Congo Free State had entered. (Laughter.) But that contention 
was not universally admitted. On the other side it was contended 
that as long as every one was free to buy and sell in the Congo Free 



10$ 

State^ the obligations of the Berlin Act were fulfilled. But the ques- 
tion was whether every one was free to buy and sell. (Cheers and 
laughter. )2^He- thought that a monopoly might be said to be created 
when in a specified area competition was excluded and a person or 
a society, or even a State itself, was constituted the sole medium 
through which any one might buy and sell. (Laughter. ) He thought 
that that was not an unfair definition of a monopoly (cheers and 
laughter) ; and, taking it as the criterion, he confessed that it was 
difficult to escape from the conclusion that the present adnunistration 
of the Congo Free State had not come up to that standard. The 
concessions of the Free State were very large ; they had been estab- 
lished with special assistance from the State ; and they were under 
special State control. Their privileged position had been brought 
about largely by the power which the State possessed of disposing 
of unoccupied land ; and he thought it would be fair to say that the 
adnainistration of these large areas was as much conducted with a 
view to the profit of those in whose interests the concessions were 
held as of the natives. He had said that, in the opinion of His 
Majesty's Government they could not admit that the administration 
of the Congo State did not come within the prohibition of monopolies 
contained in the Berlin Act. (Hear, hear.) But we were only one 
of a number of Powers who were signatories of that Act, and it would 
not be reasonable to expect His Majesty's Government to act alone 
in respect of it. The Government could not assent to the motion as 
it stood ; but he thought that, considering the difference pf opinion 
which existed among the signatories as to the precise effect of the 
Monopoly Clause of the Berlin Act, it would be a proper and reason- 
able course to institute an exchange of views with those Powers 
upon that particular point. (Hear, hear.) He was able to assure 
the House that that course would be adopted by His Majesty's 
Government. (Hear, hear.) He would turn now to the more im- 
portant question of the condition of the natives. As several speakers 
had reminded the House, an assurance was given to Europe that the 
well-being of the native races would be the main object of the Gov- 
ernment, not only of the Congo Free State, but of all the other areas 
which were within the purview of the Berlin Act. There was no 
doubt that the adnunistration of the Congo Government had been 
marked by a very high degree of a certain kind of administrative 
development. (Hear, hear, and some laughter from the Opposition 
benches.) There were steamers upon the river, hospitals had been 
established, and all the machinery of elaborate judicial and police 



107 

sysitems bad b€!en set up. Hon. gentlem^i had alleged that all Om 
was a whited sepulchre, that the apparent administratiye complete- 
ness of this s)rstem did not really correspond to good govemnii^nt. 
They said that the officials of the Congo Free State showed no due 
sense of their responsibility for the native races, and that their 
government had been accompanied by atrocities of a very heinous 
order. Were these things true ? He did not think that the Congo 
authorities denied the existence of these atrocities. What they did 
say was that they bad taken the ordinary steps of a civilised Govern- 
ment to punish the perpetrators and had adopted measures to prevent 
the recurrence of these acts. It was, he thought, this very doubt 
as to what was the real truth in regard to the Government of the 
Congo Free State which made public opinion throughout Europe so 
anxious, and which he thought the Congolese authorities themselves 
ought to feel as calling for some action upon their part to clear away. 
It must be remembered that the Congo Free State had an enormous 
area, and that any one only living for a few months on the coast was 
not in a position to afford evidence of a very reliable kind of what 
passed in the far interior. (Hear, hear.) The question was, was 
there general misgovernment in the Congo Free State ? The Congo 
Free State authorities urged as a reply to the accusations on this 
head that their system was a great improvement upon the barbarous 
government of the native tribes who preceded them. He really 
thought from some of the speeches to which they had listened the 
House would hardly beUeve that that was the case, but he thought 
that was not a very satisfactory way of stating their case. There 
were of course, the questions of compulsory labour and the charges 
which had been brought against the armed forces of the Congo Free 
State. Where a system of compulsory labour was introduced it did 
not follow that it was iniquitous, and an armed force — that was to 
say, a poUce force — was necessary to the Government of any com- 
munity. Had this compulsory labour and had this armed force 
led to atrocities ? He had some difficulty in giving a confident 
opinion about that, but he would refer to a passage in a book called 
'* The Truth about CiviUsation in the Congo,' ' which gave an account 
of an interview with the father superior of a mission in the Free 
State. This gentleman was asked, '' What do you think of the charges 
made against the officials of the State ?" In reply, he quoted some 
observations which he said he had seen and which were to this effect ; 
" Do not tell me that these customs are no longer practised. They 
are still carried on. Hands, ears, and even heads are cut off. Of 



108 

course, soldiers with three, four, or five years' service respect our 
instructions, but can you forbid a young soldier, animated with a 
desire to show his prowess, to bring back some trophies?" ("Oh, oh. ') 

Mr. Emmott. — ^Does the noble lord defend that ? (Opposition 
cheers.) 

Viscount Cranborne said that such a passage as that made 
one doubt whether the authorities of the Congo Free State realised 
their responsibilities as the white governors of these barbarous 
regions. (Hear, hear.) It was an instructive quotation, because it 
was made by a man evidently speaking in perfectly good faith, and 
speaking, of course, from the Congolese point of view. All would 
admit that no such state of things would be permitted for a moment 
in any protectorate of this country, and therefore it was that a feeling 
of general suspicion had been aroused throughout Europe, and 
especially in this country — and it had been very emphatically 
expressed in the debate — as to whether the Congo Free State auth- 
orities had really come up to that sense of their responsibilities which 
might be expected from the white governors of a district in Central 
Africa. (Hear, hear.) How did the Congolese authorities meet 
these criticisms ? They said in the first place, and he thought due 
weight must be given to that reply, that the standard of 
civilisation which we favoured was not the growth of a single 
day and required time and continuous effort to bring about. 
There was also some truth in their plea that where atrocities 
were proved they visited the perpetrators with condign punish- 
ment. They pleaded also that they had established a 
Commission whose function it was to investigate any misgovem- 
ment which might be brought to their notice, and to provide remedies. 
He was bound to say that the Congo Free State authorities had been 
very willing to give us all the information in their power in respect 
of the operations of this (k)mmission, whose members consisted 
largely of independent persons, and which had held many meetings 
and made reports. He thought the Congolese authorities would be 
wise to do their best to satisfy public opinion (Opposition laughter), 
and that where definite facts were alleged in support of suspicions, 
it would be well, in their own interests as well as in those of the subject 
populations, that they should do their best to remove those sus- 
picions and reassure the public opinion, which was sensitive on the 
subject. He did not regret the debate which had taken place, he 
thought it probable that what had been said might have considerable 
influence 



109 

Mr. W. Redmond. — Not what you have said, anyhow. 

Viscount Cranborne said the Congolese authorities and the 
Belgian people had always expressed the greatest regard for the 
opinion of this country, and especially for the House of Conimons, 
and he was fully persuaded that what had been said that evening 
would have a great effect upon them. He did not, however, think 
it possible for the government to assent to the motion in the form 
in which it was presented to them. They were asked, not merely to 
indict the Congo Free State, but actually to condemn them. (Opposi- 
tion cheers.) Let them rather be content with bringing under the 
notice of the authorities the strong feeling which had been excited 
by the charges of misgovemment which had been brought against 
them. The House would realise that he was not desirous in any way 
to sympathise with any misgovemment which might be proved 
against the Congolese authorities. He recognised that they were 
bound by their signature to the Berlin Act to afford to the signatories 
of that Act every satisfaction. The Government were prepared, as 
he had said, to consult with their co-signatories as to the evidence of 
misgovemment which had been laid before them ; and he was not 
doubtful that the strong expressions of opinion which the debate 
had called forth, voicing as it did pubUc opinion not only in England 
but throughout Europe, might have its due effect, and tend to remedy 
the evils of which they had, he was afraid, so much cause to complain. 

Lord E. FItzmaurlee warns the Government of the 

strong feeling In the House. 

Lord E. Fitzmaurice (Wilts, Cricklade) said that as the noble 
lord proceeded he began to think that possibly it was gradually 
becoming necessary that some attack should be made on the Govern- 
ment in this matter. His hon. friend who brought forward the 
motion made an unanswerable case, and the motion itself embodied 
a very moderate request. The House was not asked to pass a sweep- 
ing set of resolutions dealing with a series of counts. He (the 
speaker) submitted that there had been made out an unanswerable 
prima facie case suf&cient to justify the Government in bringing the 
facts before the signatories of the BerUn Act. (Cheers). The case 
against the Congo Free State was that neither in the spirit nor in the 
letter had it been able to carry out the duties which it undertook 
to perform under the Berlin Act. The^Govemment of King Leopold 
was unable to control their representatives in those distant lands ; 



no 

and so atrocities had been committed which curdled the blood and 
made civilisation ashamed of its name. (Hear, hear.) They had 
a perfect fight to go to the other Powers concerned and call their 
attention to the existing state of affairs in the Congo, which was a 
disgrace to civilisation. (Hear, hear.) 

The Prime Minister admits the existence of an 
''Overwhelming Case,'* and pledges the 
Government to take action. 

Mr. Balfour said he was not inclined to dissent from the position 
which the noble lord had adopted in respect to the course which His 
Majesty's Government ought to pursue on this question. The noble 
lord stated with perfect accuracy the effect of the last part of the 
resolution, and His Majesty's Government recognised, as his noble 
friend recognised, and as every speaker had recognised, the responsi- 
bility of this country as one of the co-signatories of the Treaty of 
Berlin. They recognise their duty, acting Mrith their colleagues, and, 
of course, with the Government of the Congo Free State, to deal 
with the question which had been discussed. That was the prac- 
tical proposal which had been made, and with that practical proposal 
they were in agreement. That was the only important matter before 
them ; but there was a question of procedure, he had almost said 
of Parhamentary decorum, to which he wished to call attention. 
He did not think it was wise or judicious for them without inquiry 
to place upon the permanent records of the House a resolution not 
merely asking the Government to take this or that step, but to pass 
condemnation upon another Government. (Hear, hear.) Hon. 
gentlemen had spoken in very strong terms about the action or in- 
action of the Congo Government in dealing in matters as to which it 
was rightly held there was an overwhelming case. There was a very 
great difference in an individual gentleman coming to that conclusion 
and expressing himself strongly upon it, and the deliberate procedure 
of the House of Commons. The House, should not, without anything 
in the nature of judicial inquiry and merely upon statements made 
in debate, commit itself to the condemnation of a friendly Govern- 
ment. It would be impossible for the Government to vote against 
the resolution, because it indicated a policy the Government desired 
to follow. It would be more consistent with the dignity of the 
House to accept the assurance of his noble friend, which he repeated^ 



Ill 

that they meant to take action in this matter. He hoped the hon. 
member would withdraw the motion or put it in an amended form, 
free from the objectionable condemnation of a friendly Government. 
(Hear, hear.) 

Mr. H. Samuel accepted the assurance of the right hon. gentle- 
man, and amended the motion by leaving out the words " and both 
these guarantees having been constantly violated." 

This was accepted, and the motion was agreed to. 



Members of Parliament who have identified 
themselves with the Cause of 

Congo Reform. 

The Right Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke, Bart., P.C, M.P. for 
the. Forest of Dean. Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 
1880-82 ; Author of Greater Britain : has for many years per- 
sistently and continually worked to secure reform in the Congo. 
Brought the matter before the House of Commons in 1897 ; has 
spoken and written much on the subject ; principal speaker at the 
Mansion House Demonstration in May, 1901. Moved the first 
resolution at the United Service Institution, Whitehall, on May 
5th, 1903 ; seconded Mr. Herbert Samuel's resolution in the House 
of Commons, May 20th, 1903 ; published his views of the debate in 
the West African Mail, May 29th, 1903. 

Alfred Emmott, M.P. for Oldham ; President of the Oldham 
Chamber of Commerce ; Member of Royal Commission on Supply of 
Food and Raw Material in the time of War ; Chairman of the Execu- 
tive Committee for Congo Reform of the London branch of the 
International Union ; Member of Council of Empire League. First 
took up the Congo Question publicly in 1903. Has since spoken, 
and written on the subject, notably in the Wesi African Mail of May 
1st, 1903. Contributed a powerful speech on Mr. Herbert Samuel's 
resolution in the House of Commons' Debate on May 20th, 1903. 

Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, M.C, M.P. for the Crickdale 
Division of Wiltshire. Plenipotentiary at Danube Conference in 
London, 1882-83 ; Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 1882-85. 
Took part in the Congo Debate in the House of Commons on May 
20th,. 1903, warning the Government that it was faced by a unani-^ 
mous House, irrespective of Party, 



112 

Right Hon. Sir John Eldon Gorst, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S., 
M.P. for Cambridge University. Ex-Vice-President of Committee 
of Cbmicil on Education ; Solicitor-General, 1885-86 ; Under- 
Secretary for India, 1886-91 ; Financial Secretary to Treasury, 
1891-92. Took part in the Congo Debate in the House of Commons 
on May 20th, 1903, describing the evidence against the Congo State 
as " perfectly overwhelming." 

Herbert Samuel, M.A., M.P. for the Cleveland Division of 
Yorkshire. Member of the Aborigines Protection Society, and of the 
African Society. Visited Uganda in 1902. Has been a student for 
some years of African problems. Initiated the Debate in the House 
of Commons on May 20th, 1903, in a speech of great cogency and 
earnestness. Contributed a weighty article on the subject to the 
West African Mail, in May, 1903. 

Thomas Bayley, Esq., M.P. for Derbyshire (Chesterfield 
Division) since 1892. Took up the Congo question many years ago ; 
has often spoken and written on the subject. Contributed an 
eloquent letter to the West African Mail, of April 24th, 1903. Spoke 
at the United Service Institution, Whitehall, on May 5th, 1903. 



Supplementary Note to Chapter III, 
In the debates which are taking- .place (as we g-o to press) in the 
Belgian House of Representatives, the Belgian Deputy, M. Vandervelde, 
has brought the appalling abuses perpetrated in the Rubi- Welle region of 
the Domaine Privi proper upon the natives by Congo State officers before 
the Belgian House. He has shown conclusively that those abuses were the 
direct and necessary outcome of the written instructions received by sub- 
agents from their superiors with the knowledge of the Congo authorities. 
M. Vandervelde's disclosures are of a terrible character. The only paper 
in England to reproduce them in full has been the West African MaiL They 
will be found in the issue of that paper for July loth, 1903. 



John Richardson & Sons, Printers, 29, Dale Street, Liverpool. 



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